By Christina Hermoso
The public is invited to visit the San Agustin Museum in Intramuros, Manila until October 31 to view around 35 pontifically crowned Marian images from different parts of the country.
Dubbed as “Regina Caeli,” the exhibit aims to show that the Philippines is “Pueblo Amante de Maria” or a people in love with Mary, organizers said. The exhibit is a joint undertaking of the museum and the different Marian shrines and parishes in the country.
“We have a special opportunity to make a pilgrimage to one place and venerate most of the replicas of these crowned Marian images, many of which came from their very own shrines and churches,” said exhibit writer and researcher Michael Delos Reyes. “It is also in celebration of the month of the Holy Rosary this October,” he added.
Monsignor Gabriele Viola, secretary of Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, led the recent opening and blessing of the exhibit. Officials from concerned agencies were also present, including Intramuros Administration director Atty. Guiller Asido.
San Agustin Museum director Rev. Fr. Ricky Villar said, the exhibit will be part of the normal-rate visits at the museum. On Oct. 27, however, entrance to the museum is free from 8 a.m. to 12 noon for all visitors in celebration of the Philippine Museum and Galleries Month.
The rite of a pontifical or canonical coronation is a grace for which the Pope, after a review by the Congregation on Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, grants a specific Marian image and title a special recognition in the Universal Church as a cause for devotion in a region or country. The request is usually done by the bishop in each diocese.
According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, at least 42 Marian images have been granted pontifical coronations and enshrined in shrines and churches across the country: 37 in Luzon, four in the Visayas, and one in Mindanao. Three more will be crowned in 2020: La Purisima Concepcion de Santa Maria in Bulacan on Feb. 1, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores in Quezon on March 25, and Nuestra Señora de Lourdes of Quezon City whose date has yet to be announced.