“She is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious lily of the valley.
Through her birth the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.””
This Sunday, September 8, we commemorate the Birth of Mary, Mother of our Lord—a feast which Catholics have been celebrating since at least the sixth century. Since it is Sunday, however, the celebration of Mary’s birthday in the liturgy, gives way to the celebration of the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time. Indeed, this is what Mary would have intended; she considers herself as mere God’s instrument in the salvation that comes through her Son.
This would not prevent devotees in the Baclaran shrine, however, to celebrate the birthday of our blessed mother Mary. Many devotees will flock to Baclaran and attend the Sunday mass, and at the same time express affection to Mary on her birthday. I would not be surprise if after each Sunday mass, devotees will heartily sing “Happy Birthday” to Mary. Many will offer flowers to her icon and in the altar. Indeed, this day is a happy day for many devotees as they share in the joy of the birth of Mary who is their intercessor and companion in the journey of life full of trials and tribulations.
This year’s celebration of Mary’s birthday at the shrine will be special as the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help was officially removed from the high altar on September 5, 2019 to give way for the Altar renovation. Today, September 7, 2019, Saturday, it will be displayed for public veneration and vigil after the 5:45 PM Mass until midnight. This is indeed a special opportunity for devotees as they can have a closer physical contact with the icon as they celebrate the birthday of Mary tomorrow.
Likewise, on September 10, Tuesday, after the 9:30 AM Mass there will be a touching of the icon until midnight. For the rest of the time, the Icon will be secured by the Redemptorists until the altar is ready for her return.
This is a very significant religious event for us, devotees of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. In this very rare occasion, we will have a life time chance to have a face to face encounter with the Icon.
May this experience helps us to reflect and be moved by our God who always goes down from heaven to meet us in the rough grounds of daily living.