Newsletter of the District of Asia

 Oct - Dec 2001

Philippines! Kingdom of the Rosary!

Pius XII’s Radio Message to the Marian Congress of the Philippines, December 5, 1954


(The Pope recalled at first the many graces received during the Marian Year, then he continued:)

Just as waves - of ether, air or water - transmit the vibrations received and carry it on their invisible wings to the utmost extremities, similarly, with the announcement of the Marian Year in the Eternal City, We have been able to witness an emotion which spread itself in waves of enthusiasm and fervor, and now with your magnificent Marian Congress, seem to return to Us as a last echo coming from the antipodes.

We wish to highlight first of all the spirituality with which you penetrated it - these triduums of interior preparation, the continual recitation of the rosary day and night throughout the one hundred and twenty hours of the Congress.  To this We must add the richness of the themes studied - the Motherhood of the Virgin, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of Mary - and finally the deep signification of the Congress itself.

As a matter of fact, the Philippines Islands are not just a wonderful country divided in thousands of islands rich in thick vegetation, in ardent volcanoes, in most diverse races, as if the sea had blossomed and transformed itself in an enchanting garden.   Your people as well, located - as We mentioned it not long ago - at a “vital point of the globe”, represent in South East Asia the sole great Catholic Nation which, by its position as a natural barrier between two immense seas, is a meeting-point of civilizations and peoples, a vital crossroad of paths and currants, that will certainly be called to play a providential role on the stage of history.

That is the reason why the apostolic and colonizing impulse of missionary Spain, who had the merit to know how to melt together these two ends, who could not even contain itself with the immensities of the New World, sought the solitary islands of the Pacific and thus landed on your shores, bearing the Cross on the purple standard of Castille.  The first Mass was offered in Putrian, on March 30, 1521, and the first Augustinians arrived on February 13, 1565.  To this last expedition belonged the great Legazpi  “the governor the most jealous of the glory of God”, and the genial Urdaneta, first plant of an apostolic generation in whose shadow was modeled the soul of your nation.

The conquest was mainly a peaceful one; it was a fusion of races only made possible thanks to the cohesion given in a motherly fashion by religion and to the united breath of a deeply rooted faith which maintained this cohesion in the midst of so many vicissitudes.  At the heart of all this, finally, one finds a devotion, a tenderness for the Mother beloved among all mothers, without which the national soul of the Philippines - which never separated the Mother from her Son - would be empty.

Are not many of your cities called after the Virgin: Sancta Maria, Concepcion, Nuestra Señora de los Angeles? Are not the peeks of your mountains consecrated to her: Sierra Madre, the peek of the Mother of God?  And how many among you, dear daughters who are listening to Us, are honored to bear her name?  Which household does not have her image at the place of honor?  In front of whom do you sing during Lent, the hymns of the Pasyon; or whom do you accompany, after Easter, in Salubong (‘ the Holy Meeting’)  And to whom do you offer your Flores de Mayo ?  At the fall of the day, in your villages and hamlets, can be heard these sweet canticles with banjo accompaniments on the sorrows and joys of Our Lady, whilst from neighboring houses ascends the melodious rhythm of the Hail Mary, unceasingly repeated in the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  That is truly the national devotion of the Philippines, which remains sometimes the last link with the faith and the union of Christians in certain small islands of the North, so far that they seem lost in the fog, so remote, that they haven’t seen missionaries for years and years.

Philippines! Kingdom of Mary!  Philippines! Kingdom of the Holy Rosary!  Run to this throne of grace, to this saving devotion, because the storm is raging not far away from you.  Remain firm in the Holy Faith of your fathers, that you have received at the cradle, just as your islands remain firm, although shaken by earthquakes and violently besieged by irritated waves.  And never let the sacred fire of your love for your heavenly Mother die in your souls, this sacred fire represented by these volcanoes erupting from time to time reveal the furnace hidden in your land.

By a Providential disposition, as a foundation of your national structure, you possess a variety of people having in common a lively mind, a goodness of character and a natural inclination to honesty and righteousness.  On this soil, the Lord willed to sow an excellent seed, which, in a certain way, links you to the robust trunk of Hispanic nations.  Finally, nowadays you grow and prosper by the warmth of new currants, with very rich qualities you are called to play an important role in contemporary history.

Open your souls to what is new, while maintaining the antique faith; organize your nascent nation but in giving a rightful place to Christian values; be yourselves without however breaking off from the trunk that gave you the life of the spirit.  By so doing, you will guarantee for yourselves the best in all things and prepare yourselves to be in the Far East a lighthouse of Christian life, column and pillar of an edifice whose greatness no one can predict.

(…) Manila glorifies itself of its Nuestra Señora de Guia, the Virgin of the Guide, providentially found - as chronicles tell us - on that May 15, 1571, when the first page of its history was being written.  May she listen to Our ardent prayers!  May Nuestra Señora de Caysasay hear them as well, for whose prodigious image your generosity has prepared this precious crown by which she will be crowned on the anniversary of the Centenary of the Dogma.

But may your tears be especially received by Nuestra Señora de la Paz whom you have invoked in your General Assembly, this “Queen of Peace” to whom We too address fervent supplications so that she may remove from the world the terrible plague which you have recently and painfully experienced yourselves.  While acknowledging all the goodwill necessary to the rulers of nations, We are nevertheless completely convinced that it is only in turning to Jesus Christ, to His kingdom and His doctrine - only in that direction - that is found the sure path to reach the desired peace.

(The Holy Father then blessed all the personalities involved in the Congress) as well as all these very dear Philippines Islands, herald of the Church in two oceans.  May the airwaves bring you this Blessing, which seeks to reach the very last island, the lost shore where Our voice is heard, where perhaps a deeply moved son shares in the emotion of his Father.

Translated by us from Documents Pontificaux de Pie XII, Editions St Maurice, 1954, pp. 517-520.


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