In the latest edition of its Ignatian Year lecture series, Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM hosted multi-awarded author and Xavier School educator, Michael Delos Reyes, as he delivered his online talk “Place Me with Your Son: The Jesuits and Filipino Marian Devotions” last Friday evening, October 29, 2021.
Streamed live via the Radyo Katipunan (facebook.com/radyokatipunan) and JesCom (facebook.com/jescomph/) social media pages, the MA in Theological Studies graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, presented JesCom’s newest publication through a comprehensive recap of the Jesuit presence throughout Philippine Church history, highlighted by the 17 Marian images that were introduced by the Society of Jesus’ missionaries dating back to the 16th century.
“St. Ignatius, as a Spaniard, grew up loving the Virgin Mary,” stated Delos Reyes. “Most Filipino Catholics grew up with the knowledge or experience of Marian devotion, of being a ‘Pueblo Amante de Maria’. We see a lot of these being exercised in many places: the recitation of the Holy Rosary during the month of October, the wearing of October medals in Jesuit schools, the Flores de Mayo,” he further added.
“But when we speak of a deeper Marian devotion, it’s in relation to an experience that we undergo in our life that will make us closer to the Mother of God- in the same manner that St. Ignatius had that realization or exposure during his convalescence.”
Among the many poignant moments in St. Ignatius’ life, relating to Our Lady, it was the Jesuit founder’s heartfelt prayer while in preparation for his first mass, that deeply moved Delos Reyes and ultimately inspired his book’s title.
“After Ignatius was ordained a priest in 1537, he waited a year before celebrating mass,” recalls Delos Reyes. “During that time, his prayer to the Blessed Mother was ‘Le Quisiese Poner con su Hijo’ or ‘Place Me with Your Son’. It has such a deep meaning, and tells us the very purpose, the very heart of Marian devotion.”
Further expanding the scope of his previously submitted article to the Loyola Papers, Delos Reyes highlighted some of the most notable Marian images and titles introduced, prior to the Jesuits’ 1768 expulsion. Antipolo’s “Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage”, a popular pilgrimage site, was declared the first national shrine in 1954. Other Diocesan shrines mentioned by the Cainta native were his hometown’s “Mahal na Ina ng Kaliwaganan”, as well as nearby San Mateo’s “Our Lady of Aranzazu” and Silang, Cavite’s “Our Lady of Candelaria”.
Addressing questions and greetings from audiences during an open discussion with JesCom Executive Director Fr. Nono Alfonso SJ, Delos Reyes underscored how “Marian devotions help Catholics, stay Catholic”. He praised how these faith practices have translated into several social outreach projects, such as Hapag ni Maria or Tinapay ng Birhen, where local parishes provide food for the underprivileged.
Reflecting on how his years of research work have shaped his faith life, Delos Reyes expressed how he always welcomes every new opportunity to learn more about, and be closer, to the Blessed Mother.
“When I do research on a particular Marian title, it helps me understand more its history,” shares the author. “Currently, I’m researching about Nuestra Señora de Guia– the oldest Marian image in the Philippines. Marami pa tayong pwede madiskubre kung babalikan natin ang kasaysayan. It helps us appreciate more the value of that Marian title,” concluded Delos Reyes who won the Cardinal Sin Catholic Book Award for ‘Best Book in Liturgy’ in 2016.
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