National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal



Facade of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

The confluence of good intentions may be said to have established the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

First, there was the foresight and determination of Fr. Teodoro Barquin, CM, who in 1978 was the national director of the Marian Center Incorporated and the Miraculous Medal Apostolate to build a church-- and eventually to become a national shrine for the image of the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. In his mind, the contemplated church shall become a monument of the love of the Filipinos for the Blessed Virgin Mary in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of her apparitions to St. Catherine Laboure; second was the generous donation of Ms. Estela Marfori Posadas of a piece of land in her subdivision in Sucat Paranaque for a church and convent; third was the completion of an extraordinary architectural design by Architect Jose Zaragosa within the year; fourth was the approval of His Eminence Jaime Cardinal L. Sin for the construction work to begin, for which the Archbishop himself led the cornerstone laying in July 1979; fifth and the most important of which was the collective efforts of many people and organizations to provide the necessary financial and material requirements to finish the construction. After a year of hard work, the church and convent were completed.

Jaime Cardinal Sin and Julio Cardinal Rosales blessed the beautiful and modern edifice of church and convent on September 7, 1980, with two other bishops and thirty priests in attendance.

Interior of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church

With a church and convent at its disposal, the Congregation of the Mission (CM) priests moved to create a new parish from this burgeoning middle-class community of peaceful suburban dwellers. On February 15, 1981, the parish was inaugurated with Fr. Victor Ella, CM as its first parish priest. He was followed by: Fr. Norberto Cacellar (1985-1989); Fr. Danilo Carolino, CM (1989-1995). The present pastor of the parish is Fr. David Dulfo, CM.

The construction of the church for the image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and declaring it a national shrine for her devotion achieved was Fr. Barquin and the Lady's devotees envision: that the propagation of devotion to the Miraculous Medal can become a modern man's tool against the excesses of the modern times. It can also become a shield of the people against evil temptations as well as protector from life's harm and harassment.

The Miraculous Medal

Image of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

In the year 1830, two outstanding days, July 18 and November 27, were connected with the Manifestation of the Miraculous Medal. This medal has been the wonderful symbol of Mary's message.

On the night of July 18, 1839, our Lady confirmed the choice of her messenger--Catherine Laboure, a humble daughter of France, who, since birth, had been consecrated to her.

Having entered the Novitiate of the Daughters of Charity in Rue de Bac, Catherine Laboure prepared herself for a fervent interior life, and for a service to which the Congregation vowed.

She waited for the providential hour when our Lady would reveal her mission. This came on November 17, 1830.

After this unforgettable night, nothing distinguished her from her companions except a life of fidelity and prayer, of service and sacrifice. Sr. Catherine meditated and preserved in her heart the message of her Queen and Guardian:

Come to the foot of this altar: Here graces will be bestowed upon all who ask with confidence and fervor.

At the foot of the same altar, our Lady manifested her message to Sr. Catherine to propagate the devotion to the Miraculous Medal, which is the emblem of modern times. All the mysteries of Mary are symbolized on the medal, namely, the Virgin--the new Eve who crushed the serpent's head; the cross and the two hearts; and the twelve stars of the apocalypse.

The invocation inscribed on the medal was, O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. This prayer gives us, in part, the meaning of Our Lady's message: Her Immaculate Conception which she revealed to the world for the first time and which she confirmed at Lourdes in the solemn declaration of March 15, 1858; Her meditation before her son--Mary is the greatest intercessor among humanity. With her Divine Son beside her, she intercedes unceasingly for us. The globe and rays symbolize this.

To accept and to wear this medal is to proclaim our faith in the all-powerful prayer of our Immaculate Mediatrix before Christ. But if the medal is the sign of Mary's intercession in heaven, it is also the sign of our duty to pray to our Lady for all those intentions for the spread of God's kingdom which are dear to her heart.

To come at the foot of the altar is to take part in devotion to the Holy Eucharist, the sign of union among Christians and among all men; respond to the desire of the church to gather all nations, tribes and tongues, remind them of the great truths of the Gospel and the pressing need of salvation; to purify the hears of her people, to nourish them at the table of the Lord; and to send them forth to their daily life and work as witness of the charity of God.

In the places of her apparitions, echoing the appeal of our Lady, the church is united, purified, fortified, renewed and extended. The apparitions of our Lady illustrate her mission: that is to lead souls to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from digitalphotographer.com.ph.

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