Newsletter of the District of Asia

 July - December 2004

The 1954 Marian Congress
of the Philippines

50 years ago a Marian Congress was held in Manila to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. We give here a survey of some of the articles that appeared in the Philippine Newspapers that covered the 5-day event. Unfortunately, except for three of them, we have not been able to locate the discourses pronounced on this occasion. Perhaps some readers will unearth them! Nevertheless the articles give a good idea of the faith of this nation, the 'Pearl of the Orient', for the Immaculate Mother of God. It is at the occasion of that Congress that Pope Pius XII called the Philippines the "Kingdom of the Rosary".

The events took place from Wednesday December 1, 1954 until Sunday December 5. The various newspapers described daily the events that took place on the preceding day and announced the activities of that very day. We have arranged the acts of the Congress according to the days in which they took place, using the description from the following day's articles.

First Day — Wednesday, December 1, 1954
Opening Ceremonies

1) Announcement of the Congress:
Church bells herald start of Marian meet today

Devotions at 5:30 am: inaugural scheduled at Sto. Domingo, 5pm

By Cita Trinidad


A devotedly Catholic Filipino nation will be awakened at dawn today by the joyous pealing of church bells throughout the country heralding the opening day of the National Marian Congress in Manila from December 1 to 5.

At 5:30 a.m., the simultaneous ringing of bells will mark the nation-wide jubilation over this blessed occasion at which the nation pays tribute to Mary, Mother of God.

Doors and windows in Catholic homes will be decorated with Marian posters, floral sprays and blue and white ribbons. Motor vehicles will carry similar ribbons, streamers and Marian Year flags. Altars in homes and churches where the image of Our Lady is venerated will be decked with flower offerings, while Catholic schools and universities will go festive with multi-coloured bulbs strung across their main doorways and in their gardens.

Devotions and prayers to the Holy Mother will also start early this morning. At. 5:30 a.m., the Perpetual Rosary will be recited in previously designated places by assigned groups. Also scheduled for 5:30 a.m. is the praying of the Angelus and the "Rosary Hour of the Faithful" to be broadcasted, by remote control over DZPI, from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon City under the direction of Rev. Fr. Pedro H. de Azcoitia, O.F.M., Cap.

Two holy masses for the success of the Congress will be officiated at 7 o'clock this morning, at two different places.... (Manila Times, Dec. 1,1954, p.l)

2) Description from the following day's Newspaper: Marian Congress opens; thousands attend rites Cardinal Quiroga delivers allocution in Sto. Domingo

By Cita Trinidad

Thousands of devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary from all walks of life converged yesterday (Dec. 1) afternoon at five o'clock at the new Santo Domingo church in Quezon City to witness the solemn inaugural ceremonies that formally opened the national Marian Congress of the Philippines.

The life-size miraculous image of Our Lady of the Rosary, patroness of the Filipino people, occupied the place of honour at the centre of the altar, immediately behind the Tabernacle where, in the course of the rites, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed.

His Eminence, Fernando Cardinal Quiroga yPalacios, Papal emissary to the Congress, sat on a red-silk-clothed dais at the left side of the altar. To the opposite side were the Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr. Egidio Vagnozzi, and the Archbishop of Manila, Msgr. Rutino J. Santos.

Flanking the altar were ranking church dignitaries, each richly-robed prelate assigned to his own seat, while behind them were the cloaked Knights of the Holy Sepulchre standing shoulder to shoulder.

The general assembly began at 5 o'clock p.m., accompanied by the pealing of the bells in the church's 44-meter-high tower. The processional of the members of the Hierarchy and clergy from the cloister of the convent started with the Cardinal Legate properly escorted and walking under a silken canopy bringing up the rear.

After the singing of 'Veni Creator' by the all-seminarian Joint Grand Choir, the Archbishop of Manila walked to the altar to deliver his sermon.

Speaking in clear and fluent Spanish, Msgr. Santos cited the objectives and purposes of the Marian Congress. These were:

  • to further fortify the faith of the Filipino people and to protect their virtues,
  • to increase their faith with the love of the Virgin Mother, and
  • to inspire the Filipino people with the necessity of keeping close to Mary even after the congress is over.

Then he exhorted all Catholics in the Philippines to take advantage of the singular blessings of the religious observance.

Extolling the Spanish missionaries who pioneered to the islands to establish the roots of Catholicism here, the archbishop appealed for gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the blessings of the Church which the Catholic Philippines now enjoys.

Commenting on the visit of Cardinal Quiroga, Archbishop Santos said: "As a prince of the Church he brings with him the love of the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, and as a Spaniard he unites mother Spain to us once again since Spain was the evangelizer of the Philippines."

He pointed out to the arrival in Manila of several images of Our Lady from different parts of the country, a precedent-setting occurrence, which he said, indicated the importance and grandeur of the Congress, and sought a reaffirmation of faith to Mary, Mother of God.

The Rev. Msgr. Guillermo Mendoza, Canonigo Vicar-Foranio and parish priest of Pandacan, then read the Decree opening the Congress, first in Latin, and then in English.

This was followed by Msgr. Librea of Lipa reading the Holy Order from Vatican City, the notification from His Eminence to the Pope regarding the formal opening of the Marian celebration, and the Cardinal Legate's message to the president of the Philippine Republic announcing the inauguration of the 5-day festivities in honour of the Blessed Mother.

The message also contained an appeal for the united stand "in love and reverence to our Mother... for the blessings of peace and the preservation of the well-being of the nation."

The allocution, delivered by His Eminence in a choking voice, was preceded by his expression "of a singular joy in my heart, for this wonderful opportunity to be here with you on this solemn celebration of the Philippine Marian Congress."

He told of the personal sacrifice he had to make, leaving his own archdiocese in Santiago de Compostelain Spain, which is currently celebrating its "Ano Santo" (Holy Year), but admitted indescribable joy over the singular honour bestowed on him by the Holy Father to represent His Holiness in rendering homage to the Mother of God in this, the only Catholic country in the Far East, at the nation-wide tribute being paid to Our Lady on this, Her year.

He extolled the virtues of Pope Pius XII who, "like an arrow headed straight for heaven, and with a heart big enough to feel a deep love in Christ for all humanity," is desirous of embracing all men and be able to erase all indifferences and thus lead them to the kingdom of Christ.

"Eight days ago," he revealed in a voice vibrant with emotion, "I was with His Holiness to receive His blessings for the Filipino nation, for which he feels a special affection. When he embraced me, after giving me His message for you, I felt his heartbeats very clearly, and he remarked that his joy over the Philippines' constant devotion to the Blessed Virgin was truly overwhelming."

To the Holy Father's personal message, His Eminence added his own, revealing that he felt truly as one of the Filipinos in whose midst he stood, and with whom he would always sing to the glory of Our Holy Mother.

The Rev. Msgr. Julio P. Resales officiated at the Benediction of the Holy Sacrament, which climaxed the inaugural rites, and as the multitude of devouts spilled out into the patio of the church, it was evident that the rally in honour of Our Lady had, indeed, started in the right way.

This morning (Dec. 2), at 6:30 a.m., thousands of women will gather at the New Luneta, before the imposing shrine of Mary, Mother of God, to hear mass and receive communion in observance of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin.

Early yesterday morning, Cardinal Quiroga paid a courtesy call on President Magsaysay at Malacanang.

The papal envoy disclosed that the Holy Father is very much interested in the "brilliant fight" being waged by the Philippine government headed by President Magsaysay against the spread of subversive elements in this country.

He added that Filipinos abroad were being looked upon as heroes because of the "gallant stand" they were taking despite the fact that they were virtually surrounded by communists.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Jesus Vargas, AFP chief of staff, yesterday urged all Catholic officers and men of the Philippine armed forces to participate in the Marian Congress festivities. (Manila Times, Dec. 2,1954; Manila Bulletin, Dec. 2, 1954)

Second Day — Thursday, December 2, 1954
The Women and Young Girls' Day

"The holy rosary, favorite devotion of the Philippines"

The Second National Marian Congress of the Philippines enters its third day today (Dec. 3) with a special mass and communion for the Catholic youth early this morning and a midnight rally and holy hour for men.

Yesterday (Dec. 2) thousands of women and young girls attended the early morning mass on the occasion of women's day at the improvised altar on the Luneta. As early as 5 a. m. the pews were already filled with faithful who had come from all over the city to receive communion and attend a mass said by Msgr. Santiago C. Sancho, metropolitan archbishop of Nueva Segovia.

The crowd was so thick that it extended from the grandstand to the Rizal's monument. As a result a second mass was said to accommodate all who wished to hear mass and receive Holy Communion.

Among the women who were present and who received communion were Mrs. Luz Magsaysay, First Lady of the land, and wives of cabinet members and congressmen. Wives of prominent businessmen also attended.

Fifty priests offered communion but it was noticed that many persons still were unable to receive the sacrament.

Uniformed navel cadets of La Salle College assisted the priests at communion time and helped keep order. Girl scouts were also on hand to assist who needed help. First aids stations were not used probably owing to the crisp coolness of the morning.

In general, the crowd was orderly and very representative of the city. There were Americans, Spaniards, Chinese, and a sprinkling of other nationalities added to the predominant group of Filipinos.

Archbishop Ruflno J. Santos of Manila arrived during the middle of a sermon delivered by Fr. Lee Cullum, SJ. The sermon was interrupted until Archbishop Santos had been seated.

From the altar stand, it was noticed that many of those who participated were students from the different Catholic girls' institutions in Manila. They were all in white uniform, wearing colored ties.

Traffic was jammed even before 5:30 a. m., and those who came by car had to walk a long distance to get close enough to the main altar. Others who came later had to content themselves with remaining in the rear. The crowd did not start to disperse until 7:20 a. m., at the end of the second mass.

Later in the morning, sessions were held for men, women, young boys and girls, and laborers in different Catholic institutions. The aim of the sessions was to instill in these groups a sense of the vital importance of Mary.

In the afternoon, a general assembly was held at the new Santo Domingo church in Quezon City. Exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was offered. Officiating at the solemn affair was Msgr. Luis del Rosario, SJ, Bishop of Zamboanga. Keynote address of the occasion was delivered in Spanish by Fr. Antonio Pinon, 0 P.

A gala Marian concert was held at the Far Eastern University at 8p.m., and a rosary hour dedicated to the mass with Fr. Honorio Munoz, OR, as preacher for the occasion. Fr. Munoz will talk on "The Immaculate Heart and the Youth."

Tonight starting at 10 p. m., the Marian congress area will be the scene of what is expected to be one of the biggest manifestations of the congress when thousands of men attend a rally, a nocturnal hour, and a pontifical low mass and communion

Fernando Cardinal Quiroga, Papal Legate a latere to the congress, will say the mass.

A candlelight procession will start from the base of Rizal's monument at 10:30 p. m. At the same time, about 100 priests have been asked to hear confessions on the Luneta and along the paths leading to the Marian congress altar. Four hundred and fifty members of the Adoracion Nocturna will act as ushers. The Marian holy hour will start at 11:30 p, m. and consist of the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, hymns, a sermon in Tagalog by Msgr. Alfredo Ma. Obviar, Apostolic Administrator of Lucena, and another in English by Msgr. Joseph R. Koch formerly Chief of chaplains of the US army.

The pontifical low mass will Mow at 12:30 a. m. with a sermon in English to be delivered by the Rev. Juan C. Sison, apostolic administrator of Tuguegarao. After the solemn rites of the elevation, 100 priests will offer holy communion.

The services will come to a close with a benediction of the Blessed Sacrament by Bishop Obviar, the recitation of the Marian Year prayer, and mass singing of the official hymn of the Congress. (Manila Bulletin, Dec. 3,1945, p. 1)

Third Day — Friday, December 3, 1954 The Men's Day

By Cita Trinidad

1) 800,000 Catholic men reaffirm faith in rally

An unprecedented and spectacular tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was accorded last night (Dec. 3) by an estimated 800,000 Catholic men in the Philippines during the mammoth rally held at the Marian Congress grounds at the New Luneta.

Despite the fact that last night's observance was a strictly all-male affair, hundreds of mothers, wives and daughters were in attendance outside the zoned area for worship, silently offering their own prayers in addition to their men's mass re-dedication to the worship of the Heavenly Queen.

Participants in the grand Marian rally started arriving at the assembly place around the Rizal monument as early as 9 o'clock p.m. By 9.45 p.m. the field west of the amusement park was a sea of men from all stations in life, brought together by a common purpose. A few minutes after 10 o'clock, the procession by candlelight from the gathering place to the fenced-off open-air temple of worship began.

Notwithstanding the tremendous size of the crowd, peace and order was maintained with those seeking confession patiently wending their way to where 100 priests, assigned to the holy duty, awaited them in their respective places.

Speakers during the Holy Hour preceding the much-awaited midnight mass were the Most Rev. Alfredo Ma. Obviar and the Rt. Rev, Msgr. Joseph Koch, formerly head of chaplains of the United States Army.

Speaking in Tagalog, Msgr. Obviar ask the congregation to reaffirm their faith in the Church, and to throw themselves at the mercy of the Mother of God who, at Mt. Calvary was made by Christ, Her only son, the Mother of all men.

Msgr. Koch appealed for peace among men, for a greater glorification of Our Lady, and for everyone to make as much of the blessings brought by the holding of the Congress as could be made.

High point of the observance was the Pontifical Low Mass officiated at by His Eminence, the Papal Legate a latere.

It was indeed a thrilling sight to see the numbers of the congregation, their heads bowed low, pound their chests in a mea culpa act as the Sacred Host was raised during the Elevation.

A difficult time was had by the 100 priests who had to minister Holy Communion to the communicants whose number exceeding expectations.

And the orderliness noted at the start of the rally was repeated when the services were timed, a look of exaltation clearly visible in the faces of the home-bound participants. (Manila Times, Dec.4,1945)

2) Speeches by the President and Cardinal Quiroga at state dinner

The following are the texts of the speeches of president Magsaysay and Cardinal Quiroga at the dinner given by President Magsaysay in honor of the Cardinal at the Malacanang Banquet Hall last night (Dec. 3):

The text of the President's speech follows:

"It has been my frequent privilege to welcome dignitaries of foreign lands who have come to our country in the spirit of friendship and mutual understanding.

But the spirit and the purpose for which our distinguished guest of honour has come to our shores make my privilege this evening a very special one.

His Eminence, Cardinal Quiroga, comes from the very side of the Holy Father, to represent His Holiness in our celebration of the Marian Year.

We are all thankful that this celebration should come at this time when our Faith and our freedom are increasingly threatened by Godless aggressors. And we are thankful that we have in our midst a man of God of such known sterling qualities as His Eminence to help us in our difficulties.

If we can rejoice when leaders of other lands come to us to give us material strength in our preparations against the Godless enemy, with how much greater rejoicing should we now take His Eminence into our arms who comes to strengthen our spirit, the destruction of which is the ultimate objective of the enemy.

May I raise my glass and invite you to do likewise, and drink to the health of Him from whose very side a distinguished guest has come and who is here so ably and with great distinction represented by Cardinal Quiroga - His Holiness, Pope Pius XII."

The text of the Cardinal's speech follows:


In your noble words, you have expressed very precisely the meaning and the objective of the mission, which has brought me to your nation.

It is a mission of love and a mission of the spirit. The Holy Father desires to testify the special affection which He has for the Filipino nation, sending me as Legate a latere to the National Marian Congress that with such splendour and fervour has been celebrated in this beautiful city, which, with reason has been called 'The Pearl of the Orient,' pearl for its enchantments and beauty, pearl for its wholesome progressive spirit, and pearl above all for its religiosity and for the virtues of its inhabitants.

It is for me a motive of satisfaction and gratitude to see how this gesture of His Holiness is appreciated and with what love you correspond to His interest among his good children in the person of His delegate Cardinal Legate. I would be happy if this presence may bring about an increase of the fruits of the Congress which are no other than the intensification of the virtues which make men and nations alike invincible, and things which are taught and exemplified by our sweet Mother: Faith in the word of the Lord who enlightens all, confidence in His help, which never fails, the universal love which will be the unique efficacious bond of unity among individuals and people, this unique force that engenders true peace.

Gentlemen, a venerated remembrance for His Holiness the Pope, in these moments in which his failing health preoccupies all his children and the expression of our desire while we raise our glass for the well-being of the beloved Nation of the Philippines, fortunate light-house of Christian spirituality in these regions of the Orient, and for the personal happiness of the august President Ramon Magsaysay." (Manila Times, Dec. 4,1945)

Fourth Day — Saturday, December 4, 1954
The Children's Day

Children from Catholic schools in the city and suburbs had their day yesterday (Dec. 4) at the National Marian Meet with a mass at the Luneta. Msgr. Egidio Vagnozzi, papal nuncio, officiated at the mass. The rites were featured by a mass first communion in which 20,000 children received their first communion from 100 priests. (The Sunday Times, Dec. 5,1954)

Fifth Day —Sunday, December 4, 1954
Summit and Closing of the Congress

1) 800,000 Catholic men reaffirm faith in rally

By Theodore Owen

The Second National Marian Congress of the Philippines came to a close last night (Dec. 5) with an inspiring manifestation of faith and devotion by a mammoth crowd, estimated by police at over 600,000 (note: the Manila Times wrote that the police estimated it at 1.5 million) who ignored threatening skies and intermittent showers to pay homage to the Virgin Mary.

An address of His Holiness, Pope Pius xn, was broadcast at the close of the two and a half hour procession in which 32 images of the Virgin Mary, each followed by big provincial delegations, participated. The 15-minute address started at 8:22 p.m. It was broadcast over a national hook-up over station DZPI.

President Magsaysay arrived at the Marian Congress square on the Luneta shortly before the start of the solemn benediction and the last rites. He read the consecration of the Philippines to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (see below). He was followed by the entire congregation. This took place at about 9 p.m.

Two truckloads of Manila policemen who were sent to keep open street lanes on either side of Dewey boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard) — the main route of the procession — starting at Vito Cruz street found it impossible to do so as the crowds kept on coming from all parts of the city to attend the final rites of the five-day Marian congress.

Large delegations from the provinces swelled the gathering along Dewey Boulevard and on the Old and New Luneta. These delegations came along with 18 images of Our Lady. Some came from as far North as the Batanes Islands. (Our Lady of the Rosary of Batanes) and others from as far South as Sum (Our Lady of Fatima).

Fourteen more images of the Virgin Mary came from Manila churches. Each had its respective following.

The solemn procession of the 32 Virgins of the various Philippine advocations was the first of its kind ever held here. Their gathering in Manila, seat of the Second Marian Congress, had prompted the tens of thousands of devotees to pack the routes along which the images were to pass on their way to the New Luneta. There the images were arranged flanking each side of an improvised altar on which was enthroned the image of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

The solemn procession was scheduled to start at 4 p.m. yesterday but intermittent showers and overcast skies delayed the starting time an hour. However, the rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the Marian devotees. They kept pouring into the Dewey boulevard area, each delegation following the image of their particular advocation.

Fernando Cardinal Quiroga y Palacios, Papal Legate a latere to the Marian Congress, arrived shortly before 5 p.m. with his entourage. He was escorted under a canopy to an improvised reviewing stand near San Andreas street. Preceding him were members of the Philippine hierarchy, headed by Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Santos and Msgr. Egidio Vagnozzi, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines.

Once seated, Cardinal Quiroga was flanked by Msgr. Vagnozzi to his right and Archbishop Santos to his left. Behind him sat the remaining members of the Philippine hierarchy, while surrounding the church dignitaries were fully uniformed Papal knights, Knights of St. Sylvester, Knights of St. Gregory and Knights of Columbus.

The thick crowd of spectators and Catholic faithful had to be pushed back to give way for the procession to start. An opening was made on the main island dividing Dewey boulevard immediately facing the church dignitaries, so as to enable them to watch the procession. The gap was never more than 15 feet wide and Manila policemen had a difficult time keeping it open.

Through this small break Cardinal Quiroga and Philippine church dignitaries watched the proceedings for almost two hours. Thousands marched along the west side of Dewey boulevard, eight abreast, and yet shortly before 7 p.m. the procession was still not halfway through.

It was decided as a last resort, to save time, by using both the lanes of Dewey boulevard. Again the huge crowds had to be pushed back and this took some time before the east side of the boulevard could be converted into use by the candle-lit procession, using both east and west lanes of the boulevard, did not pass the intersection of Dewey boulevard, and San Andres street until 7:20 p.m.

Cardinal Quiroga and his entourage of church prelates left the reviewing stand ahead of many of the images. They were preceded by three groups of living rosaries composed of Centre Escolar students in pink mestiza dresses who made up the cross and the Our Father beads in the rosary and five groups of ten girls, a group to make up the decades of the rosary. At the end of these rosary groups was the image of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of the Santo Domingo church in Quezon City.

The Luneta was a mass of humanity by the time the tail end of the procession reached it. There was difficulty in manoeuvring the carriages carrying the different images into position for the final rites at the improvised altar and the delay held up the closing ceremonies for nearly half an hour.

The address of Pope Pius XII came clear over the microphones at the Luneta and over station DZPI at 8:22 p.m. and lasted until 8:36 p.m. Shortly before 9 p.m. President Magsaysay read the consecration of the Philippines to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Shortly before this, the setting off of the rockets and fireworks signaled the arrival of the Papal Legate and the church prelates at the Luneta. Solemn benediction started at about 9:10 p.m. The rites were over by 9.20 p.m.

During the entire last rites of the Second Marian Congress, the Luneta was ablaze with lights and thousands of flickering candles. Most of the crowd remained until the close of the ceremonies while some including the weak and the exhausted, left for home to listen to the radio broadcast of the Holy Father.

The Holy Father closed his radio message by giving thanks to the archbishop of Manila and to "all the prelates, priests, and religious present."

"May the other waves," he said, "be the messengers of these blessings that would reach the remotest isle... .where a deeply-moved son may be listening to the pleading of his deeply-moved father."

As early as 2 p.m. crowds began to gather about their respective images and others kept coming despite the continued drizzle which lasted for ten minutes at a time.

The procession of the different advocations of the Virgin Mother showed to Manila residents for the first time in their history the peculiar traditions surrounding the veneration of each particular virgin.

In the case of Our Lady of Sorrows of Turumba, Laguna, the residents of this town danced and chanted over and over again a centuries-old hymn in her honour. Then there was the case of Our Lady of Porta Vaga of Cavite City, which was honoured by her devotees through the continuous shouts of "Viva La Virgen" (Hail the Virgin).

Large delegations followed the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia of Naga City. Our Lady of Peñafrancia is the patron of the Bicol provinces and has a large following in the part of the country. Other large delegations followed Our Lady of Manaoag, Pangasinan, Our Lady of Piat, Cagayan, and Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipole, Rizal.

Earlier in the morning Cardinal Quiroga officiated at a pontifical mass with sermon at the Luneta. He spoke on the benefits to mankind in the course of a hundred years by the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

The Second National Marian Congress in Manila formally brought to an end the Marian year celebrations in the Philippines, although the exact date of the closing of the Marian Year is next Wednesday, feast of the Immaculate Conception. (Manila Bulletin, Dec. 6,1954)

2) Pope Pius XII's Radio Message to the II Marian Congress of the Philippines

"Venerable Brethren and beloved children who, in the city of Manila, are now bringing to a close the n National Marian Congress of the Philippines.

As the nimble traveler, close to the end of a happy journey, turns his eyes in retrospect and delights himself in the contemplation of the magnificent route covered, and with the heart over-flowing with joy disposes himself for the last trek that would take him to his approaching goal, so likewise We, with the imminent close of the Marian year, cannot but manifest, once more, our rejoicing for the many graces that it has procured for mankind: for the honour that has redounded therefrom in favour of the Queen of heaven and earth, and above all, for the glory that has flowed from it to Her Most Sweet Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord: "Soli Deo honor et gloria" (I Tim., 1.17)

And in the same manner that the waves—of ether, air, or water—transmit the vibration received and carry it on their impalpable wings to the last corners, so also, upon the announcement of the Marian Year made from this Eternal City, We have been witnesses to a commotion that, spreading itself in waves of fervour and enthusiasm, now seems 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 Philippine 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 ['Putriari is the text we have. It could be a misreading for Butuan which claims this 1st Mass—Ed.] on March 30,1521, and the first Augustinians arrived on February 13, 1565. To this last expedition belonged the great Legazpi "the governor 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 honoured to bear her name? Which household does not have her image at the place of honour? 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 neighbouring houses ascends the melodious rythm 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.

For the seat of your Congress, beautiful Manila has opened to you her generous arms, when her recent wounds have hardly healed, escorted, as it were, in the center of her splendid bay, as a pearl in her shell crowned with mountains and bathed by the flowing Pasig and its many tributaries that afford the neighbouring fields wonderful richness and fertility; likewise 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 Seņora de Caysasay hear them as well, for whose prodigious image your 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 Seņora 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. (Manila Times, Dec. 6, 1954; and Documents Pontiflcaux de Pie XII, Editions St. Maurice, 1954, pp. 517-520)

3) Consecration of the Philippines Read by President Magsaysay

President Magsaysay yesterday morning (Dec. 5) read the act of consecration at the pontifical mass sung by Fernando Cardinal Quiroga y Palacios, Papal Legate a latere to the Congress.

The text of the act of consecration follows:

"For the boundless love, which thou hast, O Immaculate Mother of God and Queen of heaven and earth, to thy Son and Redeemer, deign to bless our beloved Philippines and to accept our heartfelt consecration to thee as thy own people.

We beg you to save the world and our country in a very special way, against the advance of communism, so that we may all be thine.

O Mary, Queen of the Philippines, pray for us and keep us ever safe under the banner of thy Son, Our Lord. Amen."
(Manila Times, Dec. 6,1954)


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