Mary’s Mission Tour in Mindanao

February 1, 2017 – Mary’s Mission is the physical pilgrimage of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima, animated by Pilgrim Walkers and Catechists who man-power Her carossa through a planned route of 2,100 km from the Marbel in the South of the Philippines to Baguio in the North. The purpose of Mary’s Mission is none other than Fatima itself and aims to foster devotion to Mary’s Immaculate Heart throughout the world — especially through the M.I. The nitty gritty of this apostolic work depends upon the apostolic labors of the most fervent MIs, usually, experienced Legion of Mary members, who prepare the way for the Queen of Heaven. Since Mary’s Mission represents a large logistical challenge, from the very beginning Mary’s Mission workers endeavored to obtain the assistance of various government officials for Mary’s Mission according to their desires, abilities and facilities. Due to this, despite a word from 1 of the Bishops in three of the dioceses hitherto traversed not to receive Mary’s Mission, as well as a parish Priest or so advising other civil officials in the same way, not one single night of the 125 days of Mary’s Mission have Mary’s workers had to camp out without shelter and at least a few buckets of water.

Although there has been at times zealous opposition to the Mission, beautiful gains have been won for Our Lady. These initial graces are real and provide a foundation of grace as a prelude to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. I must write “initial graces”, because the attacks of the clergy upon Mary’s Mission after our passage is sometimes very bitter. For example, in Mambajao, Camiguin, people were advised to throw away the Scapulars they had received, and in Nasipit, some 120 km further on, they were advised to throw both Scapulars and Miraculous Medals away. Nevertheless, the mayor of Nasipit, who had consecrated his Municipality to Mary some days before, resisted this command. We hope Catholics of good sense will do in like manner. However, it is certain that through such opposition, Catholics will be enlightened as to the crisis of faith that exists in the Church and will find the solution in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This secondary effect of Mary’s Mission, resulting from persecution, is a tangible preparation for Her ultimate triumph.

Let us take a quick comprehensive look at the initial graces so far. At the level of the very organisation of civil society, there has been the consecration of 4 major cities (General Santos, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan), 5 Municipalities, 6 Barangays, 5 Businesses, the Province of Agusan del Norte, 1 Army-Naval Base, 1 Army Outpost, 2 Police stations and 1 Police Camp, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The story of each is similar, catechists speak with the Mayor, or Commanding Officer, or Barangay Captain, and it is agreed to perform the consecration. The degree of devotion is recognizable by the form of reception, the number of workers, and the presence of the leaders themselves.  It was moving to see Brigadier General Casian C. Monilla consecrate the Davao Naval base attended by more than 100 soldiers in semi-circle around Our Lady. A squad of 15 or so soldiers from Task Force Davao under the Command of Captain Mendoza had marched with Our Lady the 10 km to and from the Naval base. In Cagayan, and later in Butuan, 2 Police Camps, 1 Naval-Army base, 1 Army out-post were consecrated to Our Lady while some 250 Policemen and 60 Army soldiers became members of the M.I. In Butuan a procession of some 100 and more Police cadets accompanied Our Lady in formation while the Police band preceeded the statue playing Marian Music. The camp road was lined with serviceman and both sides for about 500 meters from the entrance to the chapel where the official Police chaplain assisted in the giving of scapulars and miraculous medals.

On the level of the people of the society itself, from the inception of Mary’s Mission until January 28, 4,894 souls have been received into the M.I. on the Mission trail while 8,206 students in schools have become Knights of the Immaculata. These 13,100 souls, from all classes of society, represent a real Marian movement that will uplift Society and bring about many conversions – if only a large proportion perseveres in the daily M.I. prayer!

Taking a more detailed look at the current portion of Mary’s Mission, a whole string of Municipalities leading up to Butuan and immediately following it have been consecrated to Our Lady. The Municipalities of Carmen, Nasipit, Buenavista, and Cabadbaran, the Barangays of Bancasi, Baan and Ampoyan, the city of Butuan, and the Province of Agusan del Norte were consecrated to Our Lady. And the work is still in progress with at least one more Municipality to consecrate. In addition to the consecration of these civil seats of local government, 1,079 Municipality, City and Provincial workers became members of the M.I. These social nerve centers penetrate the surrounding population of some 500,000 souls, although the Province itself (2,3 million) covers a much broader area than the Mission will actually traverse. Mary’s Mission, which will not visit the whole province, has still been able to plant seeds in the midst of 25% of the Provincial population. Overall, the MIs of this area comprise 3,388 souls, thus representing 67% of 1% of the ambient population. It’s a small start, but through the Miraculous Medal and through perseverance, great things can be achieved through this small number.

But of all the Consecrations, Butuan was the most heartfelt and moving. Mayor Ronerick Lagnada moved to meet the statue at the entrance of the Town Hall as She arrived. As workers lined the steps leading into the central atrium, and welcomed Our Lady by throwing flowers upon Her, the Mayor himself approached Her, took Her in his arms to carry Her into the Atrium and place Her on a well-prepared altar set upon a raised platform in the middle of the atrium. Lining the walls of the Atrium, the stair cases and balconies to 2 stories above and overlooking the atrium, around 400 Government officers and workers looked on as the Mayor knelt, and accompanied by his vice-Mayor Jose Aquino and immediate staff, repeated the words of consecration uttered by Fr. Pfeiffer. Upon completion of the consecration, he rose and gave an impromptu address urging his constituents to Faith and confidence in Mary, that She would protect the city from the calamities that so often strike the Philippines.

The power of the good example of the Mayor was immediately manifested, since immediately after the consecration, around 350 workers attended a conference on the Scapular and by the end of the day, some 500 had received the Scapular. Then, around 230 remained in the atrium for the M.I. conference following which 142 workers became members of the M.I. After insisting upon the blessing of his office and the special visit of Our Lady, the Mayor confided that he was not a politician and that he was having many difficulties. After 6 years of Our Lady being removed from the Town Hall by his predecessor, he was so happy Mary’s Mission provided the opportunity for Her return and he wanted to help the Mission. The suggestion was agreed upon to a follow-up Mission later this year, and one in which he would invite Our Lady to visit particularly troublesome areas of Butuan.

Mary’s Mission has had its failures and difficulties, but these have always been punctuated by some form of success. Yet Butuan City has been a real consolation for Mission workers and certainly for Our Lady Herself. Such a good beginning spells the hard work of perseverance, the real test and the real cross of Mary’s Knights. And so it is for all of the graces gained on the Mission trail. Mary’s Mission has been a tangible evidence that the MI prayer by Knights worldwide is efficacious and bearing fruit. Nevertheless, so much more needs to be done, and in reality, many Mary’s Missions in as many places as possible would certainly produce similar effects. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers into his harvest.” We can only hope and pray that Mary will raise up many workers so that many Mary’s Missions can take place in as many places as possible.

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