"Come, the Blessed Virgin awaits you.”
Going north along the South Luzon Expressway, just past the Sucat Interchange, the traveller sees a spire, gently sloping upwards, topped by a 7-meter steel cross. Backdropped against the sky and Laguna de Bay , the spire rises from a solid swirling dome. Lighted at night, the giant cross floats like a beacon in the dark .
In 1978, the structure with a prayerful attitude was only a movie in the mind of Fr. Teodoro Barquin of the Congregation of the Mission (CM). As director of the Miraculous Medal Apostolate, Inc., located at 959 San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila, he was dreaming of a special way to commemorate the 150th year of our Lady’s apparition to Saint Catherine Laboure in 1830 Paris, France.
He harnessed the formidable number of the Children of Mary (CoM) to be all active promoters of the devotion to the Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Even then, Fr. Barquin already had a grand vision for a national shrine for our Lady somewhere near Manila. It was not until 1978 that he met Mrs. Estela Marfori Posadas, an active supporter of Mary’s Army, who volunteered to donate 5,000 square meters of her family’s property in Muntinlupa City.
But apart from generous donors, the bulk of financial support came from the efforts of the 20,000 strong Marian promoters who multiplied small supporters down the line.
A Marian devotee and daily mass goer, Architect Jose Maria V. Zaragosa, designed what is now an iconic landmark on hilly land along Laguna de Bay. Architect Zaragosa was posthumously declared as National Artist for Architecture, Design and Allied Arts on June 20, 2014.
On September 7, 1980, Jaime Cardinal Sin of Manila and Julio Cardinal Rosales of Cebu dedicated the building as the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal National Shrine. It was later declared as parish church with Fr. Victor Elia, CM, as first parish priest.
The present parish priest, Fr. Nelson B. Bisco, CM, is its eighth. A Shrine Rector, Fr. Francisco Nicolas P. Magnaye, Jr., CM, was also appointed in 2013 to focus on the Shrine as a pilgrimage site.
From a bare grassy hill, the site gradually grew proportionately to national population growth. The poor and the comfortable flocked to our Lady as their Mother of comfort and guidance. Many have come and gone, but she remains home like all mothers waiting for her children to visit. Time and distance have not dimmed the intensity of her love to keep us close to her Son’s embrace.
November 27, 2015 will be the 35th feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal at her National Shrine. We call on all who played a part in the Shrine’s growth to come home to a festive reunion and express the devotion that sustained them through life’s journey. Named and unnamed, she waits for all of us.
Please get in touch with our parish office at telephone number (+63 2) 8371004 and 8370693 for any details you might wish to know about the celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Shrine.
Thank you very much!
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