THE canonical coronation of the image of Mary Help of Christians was held Aug. 22 at the St. John The Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City presided by Apostolic Nuncio Gabriele Giordano Caccia who represented Pope Francis.
Caccia said he is grateful to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas for his invitation to him to preside over the canonical coronation proceedings.
He recalled that the image was given by the first bishop of the diocese, Cesar Maria Guerrero, by one of his predecessors, Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Guglielmo Piani. “And so we can say that for 90 years, Mary accompanied the history of this diocese,” Caccia said.
Villegas has earlier said the decree for the canonical coronation of the image of Mary Help of Christians issued by Pope Francis through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, acknowledges the faithful devotion of the people to the venerated image.
The image of Mary Help of Christians is enshrined at the Mary Help of Christians Theology Seminary in Palapad, San Fabian following the canonical coronation.
In a Q and A catechism on the Canonical Coronation of Mary Help of Christians authored by Fr. Oliver Mendoza, he said a canonical coronation is a favor granted by the Pope to a particular Marian image in any part of the world that has contributed to the growth of Christian piety and devotion. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on the authority of the Pope mandates that a Marian image be decorated with a crown and diadems as recognition of the role of the image in fomenting Christian devotion.
This is the second time that a canonical coronation. The first coronation of a Marian image held in Pangasinan was celebrated on April 21, 1926 when the image of Our Lady of Manaoag was canonically crowned on behalf of Pope Pius XI.
On why Mary is called Help of Christians, Mendoza wrote that the first person to invoke this title of the Virgin Mary was Saint John Chrysostom in year 345. The title Help of Christians was identified with winning battles for Christianity most especially the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
It said that Pope Pius VII under threat of persecution and imprisonment by Napoleon invoked the protection of Mary Help of Christians. The Pope attributed the safety of the papacy from the attacks of Napoleon to Mary Help of Christians in 1815. (With PhilStar wire service report)
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