By Sem. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban | December 7, 2018
Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan
with Permission from CBCP News
Last December 7, the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary (ICMAS) Community from Guiguinto, Bulacan had its annual Marian pilgrimage as a concluding activity for the novena in honor of Mary as the Immaculate Conception. The pilgrimage, beginning from the town’s entrance arch, ended at Nuestra Señora de Lourdes Parish (NSLP) in Pulong Sampaloc, at the town center. Priests, seminarians as well as parishioners, teachers and students of St. Bernadette Soubirous Parochial Mission School joined the celebration while praying the rosary.
In his homily for the celebration, ICMAS Rector Fr. Emmanuel I. Cruz noted the importance of the community’s pilgrimage to DRT. He said, “We remember how in 1858, around 160 years ago, Our Lady appeared to a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes, France. There she told her the words that make sense to us: ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’.” He added, “It is confirmed how Bernadette, not knowing what those words meant kept repeating them over and over until she came to their parish priest, for which the latter was clearly surprised.”
It became a significant bearing as during that time, as Pope (now Blessed) Pius IX had declared the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception through the bull Ineffabilis Deus, about four years from the time of the apparition.
He added that, “This is perhaps a very remarkable link between the seminary, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and to this parish, the only one dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes in the Diocese of Malolos and in the Province of Bulacan. Truly God has blessed us this day in remembering the words Mary told St. Bernadette, ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’.”
Dedicated to Mary
The ICMAS community holds its annual Marian pilgrimage in dedicating itself to the example of Mary, patroness of the seminary and of the Diocese. Due to bad weather, the scheduled September event was held on the very last day before the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. NSLP Parish Priest Fr. Nap A. Baltazar gave words of thanks as the seminary community visited DRT, being one of the farthest places in the Diocese.