The mystique of Iloy

Editor’s Note: Children of Mary-Vincentian Marian Youth Archdiocese of Jaro published this article thru their Facebook page. Radyo Bistado republishes this article in relevance to the celebration of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.

Since the enthronement of Candelaria in the Cathedral, strange happenings surround the image. It gave the Ilonggos the belief that the Virgin found in the river is indeed miraculous. People say that she had a habit of disappearing early in the morning in the olden days. She will be spotted as a beautiful woman with long flowing hair bathing her son in a well found in the middle of Jaro Plaza. Simultaneously, a mist would cover her niche in the Cathedral.

Another well-known story is when our Lady’s place in the Cathedral was immersed in total darkness for days before the Pacific War. When it dissolved, the image had grown larger miraculously. At present, the image size is already about 5 feet tall, and many believe that it is still growing.

Even in her niche, Iloy is very selective. Based on the stories of devotees, she wants to be close and reachable to her children as much as possible. During the 1870s, upon the completion of the new Cathedral, the statue refused to be taken from her place. The people of the parish suspected that if they transferred the Virgin to another shrine, it would not appeal to her. So the parishioners, spearheaded by Archbishop Mariano Cuartero, OP, said Masses and prayed to persuade Our Lady, even when the sky flashed and thundered. Moved by their supplication, the Virgin assented and was installed at the Cathedral after a solemn procession.

In 1980, while preparing for the Papal Visit of St. John Paul II, the Virgin refused to transfer from her niche to the church’s balcony. The parishioners attempted to move the statue, but the chains that held her broke several times. Looking back on the old stories, they asked the late Archbishop Alberto J. Piamonte to be in charge of the operation. Upon the late archbishop’s supervision, dressed in full regalia, the statue was placed pediment safely to the balcony-her present place, which was constructed for the papal visit of Pope John Paul II.

Through this devotion, the Lord God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more miracles were reported. It won the Ilonggos’ hearts, and they grew to love her so much. She became many parts of their lives, and it is still evident up to the present time.

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