(Written by Willy E. Arcilla)
February 11 is a date which the Roman Catholic Church commemorates as the World Day of the Sick in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes to whom is attributed countless miraculous cures that have occurred in Lourdes, located in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwestern France, a world-renowned pilgrimage site of the Marian apparitions to the 14-year old St. Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Her message then, as in all past apparitions across the world remains consistent and universal, timeless and enduring -- a call for the conversion of sinners; prayer and sacrifice of the faithful; and charity for the poor and sick.
On the same date this year, February 11, 2013, 155 years after the first apparition in Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin Mary appears to have made her presence felt once more and her message revived, but not in Europe, rather, right here on Philippine soil – on Iling, an impoverished island off the southwestern coast of Mindoro, an hour by pumpboat from San Jose, the capital of Occidental Mindoro.
February 11, 2013 marked the inauguration of Santisima Trinidad, a new church built on the island for the Missionaries of Mary, Mother of the Poor (MMMP), with the help of private donors led by the DMCI group of companies. The MMMP was founded in 2011 by Fr. Fernando Suarez, the world-renowned and much beloved healing priest, who was incardinated in Mindoro under Bishop Antonio F. Palang, SVD.