As the nation observed the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Vice President Leni Robredo has called on the Filipino faithful to keep their faith stronger, veer away from sins, and continue to extend a helping hand to their needy brothers and sisters amid the COVID-19 pandemic and recent disasters.
Robredo said she is one with Roman Catholic Filipinos in celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“Pagkakataon ang araw na ito upang pagnilayan ang Birheng Maria: Conceived without original sin; napupuno ng grasya mula pa sa sinapupunan. Sinasalamin nito ang kaisipan: Sa pag-ibig ng Maykapal, lahat nagagawang dalisay,” she said in a statement. (The day is an opportune time for us to reflect that Blessed Mary: Conceived without original sin; she is full of grace since her conception in her mother’s womb. This reflects the principle: In God’s love, everything becomes pure.)
Based on the Catholic Church teachings, the Immaculate Conception pertains to the conception of the Virgin Mary in the womb of St. Anne, her mother, wherein she was preserved exempt from the stain of original sin by God’s grace in view of the merits of Jesus Christ. It does not pertain to the birth of Mary nor to Jesus’ conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Nawa’y manatiling matatag ang ating pananalig, at patuloy natin itong isadiwa sa pagtakwil sa kasalanan, at palaging pagmamahal at pagtulong sa ating kapwa,” Robredo said. (May our faith remain stronger, and we continue to live this out by avoiding sin, and by always showing love and helping our neighbours.)
In a Facebook post, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said it also joins the entire Filipino Catholic community in commemorating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
As provided under Republic Act No. 10966 which was signed by President Duterte into law on December 23, 2017, December 8 of every year is declared a special non-working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the principal patroness of the Philippines.
Former House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, a Marian devotee, is the main proponent of the law.
“Catholicism plays a significant role in the development of Filipino culture, philosophies, politics, education, and sociological norms. Declaring December 8 as a special non-working holiday will strengthen the established devotion of Filipinos to the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Fariñas said.
In 1708, Pope Clement XI declared December 8 as a holy day of obligation for Catholics all over the world in honor of the holiness and purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country and is the third largest Catholic country in the world.