God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow
Because He lives all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives.
-Because He lives
That song, Because He Lives by Bill and Gloria Gaither, clearly affirms the hope believers have in Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday signifies a new beginning. With the risen Lord Jesus Christ, it is in our hope that we rise above life’s challenges, trials and difficulties renewed and strengthened faith, hope and trust in the risen Lord.
As a young child in the old Booy neighborhood, this city, Holy Week, one of the holiest times in Christendom, is a time of believing superstitious and folk practices. I’d noticed that some of them remained last week like decorating doors with palms to ward off evil spirits, never take a bath on Good Friday, monsters and other evil creatures are most powerful during Good Friday, wounds heal longer when acquired during Holy Week, amulets or anting-anting and charms are best empowered and renewed during Good Friday and abularyos or traditional faith healers recharged their powers in the forest and in unexplored caves.
Many years ago, people could only go to church. Families prayed the Stations of the Cross, listened to the Siete Palabras and meditated on the Word and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they decided to stay at home, they should pray or watch The Ten Commandments, Marcelino Pan Y Vino and Himala. The elders also shared stories of miracles and Marian apparitions.
And since we are at it, it won’t hurt if I share stories of Marian apparitions in Bohol relevant-to-the-occasion piece. Here it is:
Miniature image of Mary draws believers to Calape
Steady streams of people continue to shuffle into Roberto Lumba’s house in Sitio Cambag, barangay Tinibgan, Calape town. They pray for healing. They ask for help. Some hold flowers, others candles or pictures. Before them, on an altar of roses and prayer candles, is a miniature statue of a woman, what Catholics now believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.
“Nakit-an nako ang gamay nga statwa samtang nanghipus ko sa mga basiyo. Akong gitan-awa murag si Birhen Maria nga nagdala og bata (I saw a small statue while arranging the cases of soft drink bottles. I started looking at it until I realized it was the Virgin holding a child),” said Roberto, a bottle boy.
He kept the statue inside his home until the Virgin Mary appeared in his dream. The Virgin Mary told him to put her in a modest abode inside the house. Roberto did what the Virgin Mary told him. He looked for a natural stone enclave to hold the Virgin Mary statue and put a pane of glass that shelters the statue.
The image, which measures two inches, was dull when Roberto found it. Months passed, colors of blue and red became visible. Roberto just realized that the image, undeniably, was that of Nuestra Señora Virgen de Regla.
Believers say that the image is miraculous. People from different places in Bohol came to worship the Virgin Mary. They let the statue touched their head and shoulders and kissed the feet of the Virgin praying for healing and a miracle from her.
“Ang Ginoo mag-uban kanato sa kanunay (God is always with us),” Roberto said.
Image of Virgin Mary appears on shell
Faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to barangay Bentig , Calape town to see the image of the Nuestra Señora de los Remedios known locally as Birhen sa Kalooy.
Sofia Dumayac, one of the caretakers of the chapel where the image is enshrined, narrated that sometime in 1800, Maximo Dumayac found a fragment ofantuwang shell or tridacna on Calape beach. From the shell, rose the image of Virgin Mary. This phenomenon generated public interest.
The following is culled from the website:
One evening, Maximo went out fishing but he didn’t have any catch but every time threw the fishnet he would only catch was an empty shell. Maximo threw the shell back to the sea but the shell was once again in his fishnet. He brought it home and put it in one corner of his nipa hut. Once in a while, he would use it as container of feeds for the chickens.
One night, however, Maximo dreamed he was being asked by someone to make a nine-day novena to the Virgin de los Remedios. Being religious and devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he made the novena together with his wife. Strangely enough, after the novena ended, people from neighboring towns of Jetafe and Inabanga went to see the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Church of Calape, asking him on the whereabouts of the Lady in a Miraculous Shell. They claimed that they were asked in a dream to go to the barrio of Bentig, where they will find the miraculous shell. Maximo, unaware that his shell was a miraculous one, showed it to his neighbors and they were the first to discover that there was a strange growth in the once empty Antuwang shell. Maximo then cleaned the shell and kept it inside his baul (old chest). Meantime, people started flocking to his place and donated small amounts of money, which Maximo used in reconstructing his nipa hut.
Time went by and people later on noticed that the growth in the shell had become transformed into an image of a very beautiful and radiant lady. The shell looks like ivory and the miraculous lady seems to be made of ivory. She wears a white long robe, her eyes are beautiful and gentle and even her cheeks and lips are somewhat reddish. Almost every five years, the Virgin would add some trimmings to her robe and mantle, like for instance; she is now wearing a white robe with gold trimmings whereas before, it was not visible to the naked eye. Until today, the image of the Lady, which is about seven inches tall, is still very much attached to the shell.
Devotees of the Birhen sa Kalooy come from as far as Mindanao and Luzon.The chapel, which used to be of wood, is now a concrete edifice built through donations and offerings to the image. Pilgrims continue to come from far and wide to worship the Blessed Mother of Jesus. Up to this day the heirs of Maximo Dumayac take turns in keeping watch over the image enthroned in a more decent home.
Virgin Mary seen in tree stump
Have you heard about the Virgin Mary spotted in a mangrove tree trunk in Riverside, Dauis town? Marian devotees said the appearance of Mary in tree stump is a divine “blessing.”
The image, which resembles the mother of Jesus in her traditional prayer pose, has reportedly been causing local residents to shake and cry in wonder.
Until now, people come see the likeness of Virgin Mary. They offer flowers and candles.
There have been hundreds of “sightings” of the Virgin Mary down the centuries, but recent years have seen her appearing in ever more unusual places.
The earliest known claim was from St. James the Greater who saw the Virgin Mary while he was in preaching on the banks of the Ebro River in Saragossa, Spain in 40 A.D.
The most famous apparitions have been those reported in Guadalupe, Mexico (1531), Rue du Bac, France (1830), Lourdes, France (1858), Fatima, Portugal (1917), and Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina (1984). The most recently Vatican approved apparitions are those from Le Laus, France (1664) which were approved in 2008. The most recently occurring apparitions with full Vatican approval are those from Kibeho, Rwanda which ended in 1989.
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