|St. Joseph Shrine in Batangas marks 237th year
THE MAGNIFICENT church of St. Joseph in San Jose, Batangas is 237 years old. Established in 1765, it was only last year that we knew about it when we wrote on the canonization of Bishop Joseph Marello.
St. Joseph Marello, who was canonized last Nov. 25, was the founder of the Oblates of St. Joseph Marello who run the parish in this town. Of late, it has been consecrated as the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph in the Diocese of Lipa.
Dondie Ocampo, who arranged the trip of the Oblates to Rome for the canonization, told me that the image of St. Joseph in this church is very miraculous. Devotees from other towns of Batangas and nearby Laguna visit the church on the feast of St. Joseph on March 19.
My friends and I who call ourselves “Pilgrims of Mary” visited the shrine last Feb. 23 as part of a pilgrimage to some churches in Batangas. We were amazed to find the church so well kept. The image of St. Joseph with the Child Jesus in his arms is enthroned high up in the altar.
We met the parish priest, Fr. Randy Marquez, and his assistant, Fr. Gerry Yabyabin.
Canonization of Bishop Marello
Fr. Randy gave us a magazine called “The Marellian Today,” which tells the story of the canonization of Bishop Joseph Marello. It says that there were 22 Filipino Oblates of St. Joseph, one Filipino diocesan bishop and 40 lay people from the Philippines. There were another hundred Filipinos working in Rome and parts of Italy who also attended the canonization.
Modern apostle of youth
After he pronounced Bishop Marello as a saint, the Holy Father in his short homily called the new saint the “modern apostle of the youth.” Pope John Paul II urged young men and women to follow St. Marello’s example of self-giving especially during difficult times. He also recalled Marello’s heroic acts of caring for the poor and the elderly during his time.
St. Marello’s devotion to St. Joseph
Bishop Joseph Marello was so intense a devotee of St. Joseph in his lifetime that he founded in 1878 a congregation of religious men to promote the devotion to this great saint. His whole spirituality rests on his devotion to the foster father of Jesus.
He said: “Whoever desires closely the Divine Master in the observance of the evangelical councils, the house of St. Joseph is open to him. For the purpose of living a silent, hidden but laborious life in imitation of that great model of a poor and obscure life, he will have in it the opportunity of becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
Pilgrimage to San Jose
I encourage devotees of St. Joseph to visit his shrine in San Jose, Batangas, which is near the town of Lipa. It would be nice to include this church in your “visita iglesia” during this coming Holy Week. Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills is also run by the Oblates.
An introductory workshop retreat on centering prayer will be held at the St. Joseph Marellos Retreat House in Tagaytay on March 15-17. Those interested can call Anamarie Llanos at tels. (+63 2) 842-0102 and 842-4030. Bobby Novenario, who practices centering prayer, highly recommends that people take the workshop.
Novena to St. Francis Xavier
Try to join the ongoing novena to St. Francis Xavier at Ermita Church at 12 noon until March 12. Leading the novena is lawyer Antonio Pesigan, who has been a devotee since 1947 when the Holy Arm of the saint arrived in the Philippines from Goa and was placed in the old Ateneo Chapel on Padre Faura Street.
Lawyer Pesigan transferred the “novena of grace” to Ermita Church in 1994 when the Ateneo chapel was torn down to make way for the construction of Robinson’s Galleria.
March 4-12 is a regular novena event in Ermita Church and many people have been helped through the intercession of St. Francis Xavier. Thanks to lawyer Pesigan, this devotion to the saint, who is the patron of East Indies, is brought to us. Holding the novena is lawyer Pesigan’s way of saying “thank you” for all the blessings he and his family have received all these years.
Apologies to Don Felbaum
Apologies to Don Felbaum who initiated the foundation dedicated to Our Lady of Garabandal in the Philippines. He is very much alive. Those who passed away were Ethel Valiente, author of an angel book, and Sister Judge of St. Paul’s.
Our column on Our Lady of Garabandal two weeks ago has generated interest in the showing of the tape of the apparitions in parishes and religious organizations.
Peter Galace, national director of the Philippine Garabandal Foundation, would like to point out that when Our Lady told the visionaries in June 1965 about the great miracle that would happen between April 8 and 16, Our Lady did not specify 2002. He said that his group is going to Garabandal in April, not because of the miracle, but as part of their devotion to Our Lady of Garabandal.
Padre Pio devotion in Manila
When businessman Chito Bertol suffered a serious disease in 1997, he prayed to Padre Pio and vowed to propagate his devotion. He asked artist Abe Lucas to paint a portrait of the saint, which now hangs in the worship hall of the Manila Seedling Bank on Quezon Avenue corner Edsa.
When the Spirit of Love Catholic Community had difficulties in holding their prayer meetings at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills due to lack of privacy, Chito offered his place at the Manila Seedling Bank.
In no time at all, the worship hall became a place of “life in the spirit” seminar and healing Masses. On the first Monday of every other month, the healing Mass of Padre Pio is held at 6 p.m.
I attended the Mass last March 4 and I had a beautiful experience. The next healing Mass of Padre Pio is on May 6.
Those who wish, by the way, to go to Rome for the canonization of Padre Pio on June 16 can call Sally Maddatu of World’s Wonders Inc., which is organizing a group to go there. Please call Sally at tel. (+63 2) 726-6162 or Annie Lukban at (+63 2) 939-6528.
Madre Ignacia day
The RVM sisters honored their foundress Madre Ignacia del Espiritu Santo with testimonies of healing through her intercession on the occasion of her 339th baptismal anniversary. The event took place at the MICS auditorium in the RVM Center on N. Domingo Street, Quezon City.
Those who experienced miracles through Mother Ignacia’s intercession can write the Religious of Mary at 214 N. Domingo St., Quezon City.
St. Joseph exhibit
St. Joseph devotees are invited to the 9-day novena Masses from March 10-19 at the Hospicio de San Jose. The all-male choir Psalm 47 will sing during the Mass on March 17 at 6 p.m.