Last October 7, 2022 The Religious Family of the Incarnate Word made a Marian Pilgrimage on foot to the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, Taal Batangas to renew the act of filiation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Lady with the Birds
Our Lady of Caysasay venerated and honored as the Queen of the Archdiocese of Lipa is an image of the Immaculate Conception that was found luminous in the Pansipit River by a fisherman named Juan Maningkad in 1603. Giving the image to a renowed widow of a judge for safekeeping, the image miraculously disappeared from and goes back to a locked urn, and the same thing happened when they sent the image to the parish church. One day it disappeared and was nowhere to be found. In 1611, two women were gathering firewood near the place where the image was originally found. They saw the image reflected in the spring water that had sprung on the spot. They looked up and saw the image atop the branch of a tall sampaga bush with two lighted candles on each side, amongst kingfisher birds called casaycasay which the Spaniards at that time pronounced as caysasay. The people and the parish priest finally concluded that it was the Virgin’s wish to stay in that place, so they decided to build a chapel on the very spot where the image was found. It was also in 1611 that the first apparition of Our Lady to an almost blind native servant girl, Juana Tangui and around 30 women, was recorded by the church ordinaries. This was the first recorded Marian apparition in the country. Miracles attributed to Our Lady of Caysasay include the healings, deliverance of the town from the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754, from the Muslim raid in the same period, the economic boom of Taal, and the prosperity of its residents.
A Walk For Our Mother and Queen
Waking up at early dawn the priests, brothers and sisters of our Religious Family with the members of the Third Order walked from the town of San Jose, Batangas to the Caysasay Shrine covering up a distance of 32 kilometers. The participants prayed their rosaries and the religious spent time with the community while walking along the way. People going to their work or school early in the morning were surprised to see the religious coming in groups and after greeting them with a “Hello” or “Good Morning” the next thing they will commonly do is to ask “Where are you going?” and when we said “To Caysasay” with big eyes they will say “ Kalayo ah!” (Oh So far!) and the religious will bid goodbye to them with the smile. The Pilgrimage was offered in faith solely for three reasons:
- In thanksgiving for all the benefits received by the Religious Family in the Philippines through the intercession of Mary most Holy,
- To ask for her protection for Our Religious Family,
- and ask for the perseverance and increase of priestly and religious vocations and for the participants’ personal intentions.
New and Renewed Filial Slaves of Jesus through Mary
Reaching the shrine, Father Miguel Soler, IVE , provincial superior of Our Lady Of Sheshan Province celebrated the Holy Mass in Honor of Our Lady of Rosary. Father Diego Ibarra, rector of the Seminary in the Philippines gave the homily. He recounted the miracle of the battle of Lepanto in 1571 that saved the Christian Europe against the strong Muslim fleets of the Ottoman Empire, thanks to the protection granted by the Virgin Mary in answer to the petition of Pope Pius V and the whole Christendom which they asked through the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Fr. Ibarra invited everyone to look at the blessed Virgin as the same advocate who prays for all of us and who will surely grant the same protection to her sons and daughters in the Incarnate Word amidst the battles in the temporal and spiritual plane and that it is fitting to renew our trust in her who is the “Help of Christians”.
Around 50 people which includes the aspirants, postulants, novices and lay people were invested of the Scapular of Our Lady of Lujan and before the closing prayer the religious priests, brothers and sisters renewed their act of filiation to Our Lady.
Our Religious Family went to the famous Basilica of St. Martin of Tours in Taal where they had a simple breakfast and the traditional fogon.
To end this little article we want to leave you with the words of the Marian Pope, Our Spiritual Father, Pope John Paul II:
The pilgrimage of faith no longer belongs to the Mother of the Son of God: glorified at the side of her Son in heaven, Mary has already crossed the threshold between faith and that vision which is “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). At the same time, however, in this eschatological fulfillment, Mary does not cease to be the “Star of the Sea” (Maris Stella) for all those who are still on the journey of faith. ( Redemptoris Mater, 6)