On October 24, 2016, the lay collaborators of Manresa Retreat House, Quezon City made their pilgrimage to the five Jubilee Churches in the Archdiocese of Manila. They were accompanied by some Sisters from Manresa Retreat House and Tahanan Candida Maria de Jesus, and some of our young Vietnamese and Chinese sisters with Sr. Madeleine Capistrano FI.
We were 23 pilgrims in all. We went to Santuario del Santo Cristo, Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, National Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Church, and the Manila Cathedral.
We prayed the Rosary as we rode to the different Jubilee Churches. Our young lay collaborators were as recollected as the sisters! At every church, we recited the Prayer of the Year of Mercy before entering through the Holy Door.
We received our Pilgrim’s Passport from the first church, the Santuario del Santo Cristo (San Juan City), where a parish officer welcomed us warmly and oriented us about the church and the activities for pilgrims. There we prayed for the intentions of Pope Francis and went to the conventual cemetery to pray for the dead. Before leaving the church (and every church after that) we had our passports stamped.
At the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy (Mandaluyong City), we prayed the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy in front of the main altar before a huge painting of the Divine Mercy. We also venerated the relic of St. Faustina and prayed for the salvation of sinners. Before the image of the Crucified Christ we remembered those who suffer in mind and body. Then we went down to the Columbarium and prayed for the departed.
At the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart (Makati City), we prayed the Novena prayer to the Sacred Heart, after which we prayed for the souls in purgatory before the Crucified Christ by the columbarium. Before leaving we visited the Adoration Chapel for a few moments. Many of us fervently wrote petitions just outside the chapel and dropped them in the petition box.
Then we proceeded to the fourth church, Our Lady of Sorrows (Pasay City). It was there that we paused and prayed the Angelus at 12 noon as the church bell tolled. At every church we could give donations, and in this one it was for the Prison Apostolate.
After lunch, we went to our fifth and last Jubilee Church, the Manila Cathedral (in Intramuros, Manila), truly impressive.
At the huge Jubilee Cross containing a relic of the true Cross of Christ, we paused while many of us venerated the relic with a kiss. Some said a special petition as they laid their hand on the relic. At the grand bronze image of St. Peter the Apostle, we prayed for the intentions of the Pope.We prayed for the dead at the Blessed Souls Chapel and then spent some moments before the Blessed Sacrament exposed at the St. Peter Adoration Chapel. Then we went down to the crypt where four of the former Archbishops of Manila were laid to rest, and prayed for them, too.
Cardinal Sin tomb
At the St. Joseph Chapel some gave a donation for the homeless. We ended our pilgrimage by praying in front of the main altar where the Immaculate Conception is enthroned.
As they looked appreciatively at their Pilgrim’s Passports, the serene and joyful faces of our lay collaborators and their companions reflected a trace of their day’s encounter with our God of mercy. Hopefully this encounter will continue to bear fruit in our daily lives, “imbuing our actions, attitude, lifestyle and life with the purest quality of mercy that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, has so generously shown us and gifted us”, as Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, said.