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Jaro cathedral becomes national shrine

 JARO (Mabuhay) : The Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral will be formally declared the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles on February 2, the feast of Our Lady of Candles, or Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, which is commonly referred to as Candlemas.

The declaration follows the approval by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of The Philippines on July 16 last year.

A novena of Masses was begun at the cathedral on January 24 and go through to February 1 to prepare for the celebration of the feast.

On the evening of February 1, after the 5.30pm Mass, there will be a coronation of the image of Our Lady of Candles located on the balcony of the facade of the cathedral.

The formal declaration of the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral as the National Shrine of Our
Lady of Candles will take place during the 7.00am Mass on February 2.

On 21 February 1981, the image of Our Lady of Candles was  crowned by Pope John Paul II.

It is the only Marian image in The Philippines to have been afforded that honour.

The Marian image is venerated not just by the people of Jaro, but also right across the western Visayas and even as far as Mindanao.

The annual pilgrimage to the shrine in early February, which goes on for several days, and the daily devotions of the people coming from afar, who bring with them testimonies of spiritual blessings received through the intercession of  the Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, attest to the reality that she is indeed mother to the people of western Visayas.

There are 18 national shrines in The Philippines, 12 of which are in Manila, but only one in the Visayas and none in Mindanao.