QUEZON CITY – In the midst of a widespread pandemic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cubao held two canonical coronations of the venerated images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, namely, Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Church needs to celebrate these momentous events even while the whole country is still under lockdown, since it still sees these occasions as a grace and a sign of hope for the people.
Rev. Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo, Director of the Diocese of Cubao Catechetical Ministry explained that a pontifical or canonical coronation is the highest form of recognition given to the Blessed Mother. He said that the canonical coronation is not just to appreciate the age and antiquity of the image; rather, it is also an acknowledgement from the Holy Father of the pious devotion of the faithful. “Ito’y pagkilala talaga ng Simbahan doon sa hindi matatanggihang debosyon na iniuukol ng taumbayan para sa isang larawan ng Mahal na Birhen… Ang nangyayari sa isang canonical coronation ay ang Santo Papa mismo ang nagpuputong ng korona doon sa larawan ng Birhen at larawan ng ating Panginoong Hesukristo. So, sa pamamagitan ng mga tao na inutusan niya na koronahan ang isang larawan, ito’y parabagang siya na ang dumating upang putungan iyon ng korona,” he said over an interview with the Cubao Social Communications Ministry.
The priest emphasized that it is not the Holy Father who chooses the image to be crowned because it has to be the movement of the people coming from below. First, they have to prove the antiquity of the image, the widespread devotion of the people, and how the image is valuable for the community. Then through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the image will be recommended to receive a canonical coronation. When the Holy Father accepts the recommendation, that is when he writes a decree.
Although it is very common for the image of the Virgin Mary to receive a canonical coronation, Fr. Zerrudo clarified that even the images of Saint Joseph and Jesus Christ are entitled to receive the same recognition. “May mga pagkakataon pa nga na maging si San Jose ay nakakatanggap ng mga Canonical Coronation. So tatlo lang yan: ang ating Panginoon, ang Mahal na Birhen at si San Jose. Pero ang mas popular talaga na kostumbre ay mga larawan ng Mahal na Birhen. In fact, kung ang larawan ng Birhen ay may kalong na batang Hesus, sa ritual ang unang-unang pinuputungan ng korona ay ang Panginoong Hesukristo, pagkatapos puputungan ng korona ang Mahal na Birhen.” Fr. Zerrudo also said that it is very likely that even the image of Jesus the Black Nazarene in Quiapo Church, Manila can receive a canonical coronation.
“Is there a possibility that halimbawa ang Nazareno ng Quiapo be canonically crowned? Ang laking possibility noon kasi you cannot deny the impact of the Nazareno in Filipino society,” the priest added.
With more than 40 canonically crowned images in the Philippines, the country has been called Pueblo Amante de Maria. But despite the expensive crowns given to the images of the Virgin Mary, Fr. Zerrudo hopes that this crown will be the symbol of the hearts of the faithful offered to the Blessed Mother.
In October 1907, the first ever Canonical Coronation in the Philippines was granted to the image of Nuestra Senora del Santissimo Rosario La Naval de Manila, currently enshrined at the Santo Domingo Church, Quezon City. Last August 15, 2020, the venerated image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City was canonically crowned. This August 22, 2020, at 9:30 in the morning, the image of Our Lady of Lourdes at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Quezon City will also be canonically crowned by Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, DD., Bishop of the Diocese of Cubao.