By Christina Hermoso
The Holy Father Pope Francis has approved the canonical coronation of the revered image of Mary Help of Christians in Pangasinan.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia will lead the liturgical rites of the crowning of the venerated image on August 22 at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.
“The decree, issued through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, acknowledges the faithful devotion of the people to the venerated image. This is a clear message of affirmation from the Holy Father that this image of the Mother of God with the Child Jesus has contributed to the growth of the Catholic faith in Pangasinan for the past ninety years,” said Lingayen-Dagupan (Pangasinan) Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas , in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News post.
The former CBCP president said the next few months leading to the historic ecclesial event will be a period of “historic catechesis, acts of piety and works of mercy in honor of Mary Help of Christians.
“I call on you our brothers and sisters to consider this blessing as a challenge to love the Lord even more and seek ways to grow in holiness,” Villegas said.
A canonical coronation is a pious institutional act wherein the Pope, through a bull, designates a crown or a stellar halo be added to a Marian image under a specific devotional title in a particular diocese.
The crowning of the image of Mary Help of Christians will be the second canonical coronation to take place in the archdiocese after the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag was crowned 92 years ago.
The image of Mary Help of Christians was a gift of then Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Guglielmo Piani to Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero, the first bishop of Lingayen.
The statue is currently enshrined at the chapel of the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in the town of Binmaley.