QUEZON CITY – Last August 15, 2020, the venerated image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City was canonically crowned amidst the implementation of the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. The celebration coincided with the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Most Reverend Honesto Ongtioco, DD., Bishop of Cubao crowned the image with the authority bestowed unto him by the Holy Father Pope Francis. In his homily, he emphasized how the life of the Blessed Virgin closely followed the pattern of the life of Jesus. He said that after being chosen as the mother of Christ, Mary suffered with Jesus even at the foot of the cross, thus making her worthy to be exalted and enthroned as Queen of Heaven and Earth.
“Indeed, she was destined to become the Mother of the Redeemer. She was chosen to be the closest associate of Jesus in his work of redemption… The Lord wants Mary to reign with Him in heaven forever. The woman who called herself the handmade of the Lord is now exalted far above the cherubim and she is enthroned as Queen of Heaven and Earth,” Bishop Ongtioco said.
However, the prelate said that even after receiving the heavenly crown, Mary continues to turn her eyes of mercy to the sufferings of the people, and it is in this time of pandemic that we can truly depend on Our Lady of the Mount Carmel.
“Although she is enthroned as queen, she remains to be our mother. At the foot of the cross Jesus entrusted us to her, and also she is entrusted unto us, for He didn’t want us to journey without a mother. Therefore, to her we entrust our difficult time. We know that from her heavenly throne she continues to turn her eyes of mercy towards us and she shows to us the blessed fruit of her womb, Jesus our King,” Bishop Ongtioco added.
The Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was built in 1954 when the Order of Discalced Carmelites came under the Archdiocese of Manila. It became a parish in 1975 with its first parish priest, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan. The parish was declared as a National Shrine in a ceremony led by then Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines President Archbishop Socrates Villegas on December of 2015. The next year, 2016, the Apostolic Penitentiary granted “a spiritual bond of affinity” between the Shrine and the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. In November 2018, it was elevated to the status of Minor Basilica, becoming the first Minor Basilica under the Diocese of Cubao.