Shrine of Our Lady of Peace
(EDSA Shrine)

Facade of Shrine of Our Lady of Peace (EDSA Shrine)

It was on a historic day of February 25, 1986 when the concept of a special shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived. On this date, the political dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand Marcos ended, with him, family and close associates fleeing to Hawaii to escape the angry but peaceful uprising of the Filipino people who tired of his one-man rule.

The saga of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) culminated in a four-day tension-filled event when the rebel group in the Armed Forces of the Philippines were discovered by the Marcos troops and were ordered arrested. The Archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, enjoined the people to go out in the streets to protect the rebel leaders. The Catholic faithful heeded the call and massed along EDSA fronting Camp Crame where the rebel leaders headed by then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos were holed and thus escorted by the people against impending bombs from the Marcos loyal troops.

The people milled around the rebel leaders, bringing nothing with them but rosary beads, flowers, food and images of the Blessed Virgin. Hundreds and thousands of religious priests and sisters, parish priests and their parishioners including onlookers and curiosity seekers stayed on the whole of EDSA immobilizing the tanks sent out to crush the rebel leaders and, according to reports, even the people.

Through the tenacity of the people who refused to budge in the highway, flashing their signature yellow ribbons representing their support for Cory Aquino and the prayers and kindness shown by the people to the seemingly confused yet sensitive troops, not a single bullet was fired in the four tension-filled days. The Filipinos saw with their own eyes how overwhelming love of country and courage against forces of oppression united the people and made them stood their ground without resorting to violence. It was a shining moment for the faith of the people in a God who listens. It was also the people's faith and trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, which gave the people persistence in patiently waiting for the end of this unlamented regime.

Altar of Shrine of Our Lady of Peace (EDSA Shrine)

Ten years later, on the same site where the rebels were met by the protective group of political activists to safety, a church was built, aptly named Our Lade of EDSA Shrine, in commemoration of that glorious moment in the history of the Filipino people where love and faith towered over the might of guns and goons and propelled the Republic to continue its political history of freedom and respect for the constitution and the will of the people.

Mary, Queen of Peace, the Patroness of EDSA Shrine, stands guard atop the beautifully crafted roof of the EDSA Church fronting the busy crossroads of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. It is a fitting place for Our Lady of Peace to look over her children and keep them hopeful of a more joyous and peaceful life now and in the future.

Peace and hope. These are the twin gifts of the Shrine to the pilgrims and the churchgoers who continuously, through the days and nights, seek the sanctuary of the Shrine. Msgr. Socrates Villegas, the Shrine Rector and promoter of the devotion to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, explains the purpose of the shine as that of a haven for people who seek the company of Christ and the Mother of Him whom we call God. True to his word, Msgr. Soc Villegas keeps a busy schedule of Masses and prayer sessions in the shrine. There are also various choir groups among the youth, the workers and adults who find time to share their singing talents that add enchantment to the meaningful Masses said by the Shrine Rector and other visiting priests.

The Shrine premises also attract the people. It is not only clean but is also artistically designed, with its modern Christ in the main altar fashioned from jade, capturing the imagination of the churchgoers. Silence is an important quality of the Shrine. During the unholy hours of the day and night, one gets much of this and true enough, one can pray unperturbed by the rest of the world's distraction and what becomes incontestably significant is one get the peace one seeks just by visiting Our Lady of EDSA Shrine.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from and

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