This past week has been very special for Batangas. Known for its Marian devotion, the province held special celebrations on Sept. 8 and 12.
On the eve of Sept. 7, hundreds of devotees gathered on the Mountain of Salvation in Batangas to wait with the visionary Emma de Guzman for the apparition and message of Our Lady of love, peace and joy.
This has been going on the past nine years and many people have seen amazing signs in the sky and on the mountain.
There have been many conversions as well. This year, Mama Mary appeared after midnight, around 1:30 a.m., and declared that she is the Mediatrix of All Graces. In fact, Her words were “I am the Mediatrix standing in front of the Mediator.”
Her message centered on reconciliation and said it was not time to focus on negative things which would divide Her children. She asked that we be happy, rejoice and celebrate Her feast day. However, as in the past, she stressed the need to pray continuously.
Last year’s message
This was different from last year’s message that had Emma in tears. In fact, she was sad and depressed for some time and couldn’t speak. Eventually, she revealed that Mama Mary had shown Her people suffering, buried in water and mud. Our Lady then said, “Are you going to wait until the earth moves and the water engulfs you?”
Ten days later, we saw exactly that on our TV screens when the calamity in Cagayan occurred.
Emma came to visit me this week and we discussed the message. Though it was more positive, Emma still couldn’t shake off her apprehension over last year’s message. She feels that too many have strayed away from God and the teachings of the faith, and that if we don’t change, that message given last year will be even more fulfilled.
I kept thinking about it and it occurred to me that Our Lady was not just identifying herself, but giving us a message: that She would be there for us, standing before Jesus the Mediator, and intercede for us when the time would come.
Then on Sept. 8, the Archdiocese had a Marian Regatta on Taal Lake. Almost a thousand boats joined the flotilla, coming from all sides of the lake.
The Sept. 12 celebration capped this Marian week with processions, talks and a Eucharistic celebration with several bishops concelebrating with Archbishop Palma, the main celebrant. It was the ninth year of the National Pilgrimage and National Day of Prayer for World Peace and the sanctification of the clergy.
I had been asked to be one of the speakers and was initially hesitant because the trip to and from Lipa, Batangas, would be too exhausting. Then it came to me that I kept asking the Lord to let me survive so that I could continue to serve. How could I refuse?
I went, and was strong the entire day!
Batangas is blessed and we as a people are so blessed as well. Witness the magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Eastern Samar, in which there was only one fatality. Days after, another earthquake—magnitude 5.9—struck China, leaving 81 dead, 180 injured, 100,000 evacuated.
I believe that Mary’s mantle still shelters us and our prayers said in unison with Her (“Pray for us sinners now…”) will help us make our way to Her Son.