Thousands of Marian devotees keep coming to Dumaguete City to pay homage to the visiting pilgrim image of the Our Lady of Simala, which arrived Monday for a five day visit.
The Our Lady of Simala from Lindogon, Simala in Sibonga, Cebu, is said to be miraculous, having shed tears in previous occasions and has grown in popularity over the years since a child who was dying from dengue was healed, according to accounts of her.
Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete officiated in the concelebrated mass Monday evening at the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in Dumaguete, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Simala.
The pilgrim image was brought to Dumaguete on a motorcade that was joined by thousands of pilgrims, either traveling with her from Cebu or awaiting her arrival here.
Leading the pilgrimage was Brother Martin and another brother of the Marian Monks of Eucharistic Adoration, the congregation that runs the Marian Shrine in Lindogon, Simala.
Cortes, a staunch Marian devotee, expressed gratitude during his homily for the visit of the Our Lady to Dumaguete.
He noted that the image arrived Monday, just as the Catholic world is celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel made the announcement to Mary that she was to bear a child conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing is more befitting than to be forever grateful to the Blessed Mother Mary because it was when she trusted God that Jesus Christ came to this world to save humanity from eternal damnation, he stressed.
The visit of the pilgrim image hopefully will bring plenty of graces and blessings for the people here, Cortes said.
Many people who cannot visit her at the Simala Shrine now have the opportunity to see her in Dumaguete until Friday afternoon, when the image will return to Cebu.
The Our Lady of Simala is at the Cathedral until Friday morning, with regular masses held throughout as well as dawn processions in the coming days.
A grand procession around Dumaguete is set Thursday evening, and a farewell mass on Friday at 9 a.m., to be officiated by Cortes.
He said he is overjoyed with the “extraordinary presence” of the Our Lady of Simala, noting how popular the Blessed Mother is that wherever this particular pilgrim image goes, thousands of devotees never stop coming to see her.*JFP
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