Aug. 25, 2023 09:40 AM
The venerated image of Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora (Our Lady of the Good Hour) of Quiapo Church, whose Feast day marks the day of the Blessed Virgin’s Mary Assumption to Heaven on August 15, 2023 (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
QUIAPO, Manila – Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel, former rector and parish priest of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, officiated the 12:15 noon solemn mass in honor of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tuesday, August 15, 2023. This Holy mass was concelebrated by the Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr., present rector and parish Priest, with his parochial vicars: Rev. Frs. Jonathan Noel Mojica, Robert Arellano, LRMS, and Hans Magdurulang, together with Rev. Frs. Francis Villamer, Dennis Astor, Rommel Darondon and Paul Medina as guest priests. This celebration was attended by 1,003 people in one as this also marks the Feast of Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora (Our Lady of the Good Hour), which could mean that hour before she had finally been assumed into heaven.
Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel, former rector and parish priest of Quiapo Church, together with its present clergy and other guest priests concelebrated the 12:15 noon solemn mass in honor of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
The origin of devotion to the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora of Quiapo
Sideview of the image of Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora of Quiapo (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Within this house of the revered image of Black Nazarene, the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora had become the focal point of Marian devotion in the Quiapo community. However, its origin remains unknown as of the present. Some theories attributed the beginning of this devotion had originated after the arrival of the image brought from either Macau or Moluccas, both Portuguese colonies, into the country. Albeit there is the absence of official records as to where the image came from. The published 1904 book entitled “La Virgen Maria Venerada en Sus Imagenes Filipinas” verifies the existence of the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora in Quiapo church during that period. Her feast day is dedicated during her Assumption to heaven, August 15, and is honored as the ‘Virgen de las Flores’ enthroned in the main altar every Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May).
Tragic fate and sudden demise of Marian devotion in Quiapo
The aftermath of the 1945 Second World War (WWII) left the country in shambles, especially its massive economic destruction. In the case of Quiapo church, there were reports and other recollections made implicating that various church properties were sold. It was said that the image of the Buena Hora was also sold to unidentified antique collectors. Hence, nothing was heard of her since then. After that, the Marian devotion of Quiapo slowly dwindled until it died down, making it oblivious to most Filipinos. Following those periods, there were movements to restore this tradition in the 1990s, starting during the rectorship of the late Msgr. Jose C. Abriol. However, those attempts had ended to no avail, brought about by succeeding church administrations with obscure knowledge about the once Quiapo devotion to the Buena Hora.
Formal revival of the devotion to the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora of Quiapo
(Left) The Blessed Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus the Nazarene & (Right) Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel incensing the image of the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora for public veneration (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Thanks to some of the people who had known the existence of the image and devotion before its disappearance, it was in the year 2017 when Msgr. Hernando Coronel, then rector & parish priest, had initiated the formal revival of the devotion to the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora of Quiapo. The first modern image of the Buena Hora was the 6-foot seasonal Marian image that was originally fashioned as the image of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgen de Alegria during Easter celebrations. The image was inaugurated on August 15, 2017, and was brought out for the first time in a solemn procession around the church’s vicinity. Months later, a second image was commissioned and blessed on December 8, 2017, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. The image was then enshrined in her altar, where the Marian devotion of Quiapo had begun to flourish once again up to this day.
Maria – Mary, our Mother
Rev. Msgr. Coronel delivered his homily emphasizing on the significance of the word ‘Maria’ to the 1,0003 faithfuls during the 12:15 noon solemn mass (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
Throughout his short vacation trip to the Philippines, given he had made history of restoring what was a lost devotion to the Quiapo Church, Msgr. Hernando Coronel made another history by officiating this solemn mass dedicated to Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora. In his homily, Msgr. Coronel enlightened the people on the name ‘Maria’ (Mary), which constitutes the fundamentals of our Catholic faith, and how her glorious Assumption has a direct relevance to our daily lives:
M – Magnificat – “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary was found favored by God; hence, she was entrusted with this mission of carrying the Savior in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her Fiat during the Annunciation means seeing the beauty and goodness the Lord has made in carrying out His plans of salvation.
A – Advocate Nostra – Mother Mary is our intercessor for our daily needs, petitions, and other prayers directed to her Son, Jesus Christ, for those to be heard, favored, and granted. For Msgr. Coronel, the Solemnity of the Assumption is also about worshipping and adoring Jesus.
R – Reyna – With Jesus Christ as the King, Mother Mary is indeed the most pure and immaculate with a sincere and beautiful heart. Hence, her Assumption to heaven confirms the four (4) dogmas that she is indeed the Mother of God (Theotokos), and was chosen to be immaculate from conception, birth, and giving birth to Jesus until the end of her life on earth. Her beauty from earth to heaven is indeed perfect. Hence, the words’ Tota Pulchra Es Maria’ illustrate Mary in that sense.
I – Ina – Mary as our mother in times of our great troubles, sorrows, problems, and life obstacles
A – Aba Ginoong Maria – The Hail Mary prayer contemplates the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, wherein Mary had always participated throughout the mystery of salvation.
Nourish and protect the body and soul
Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr. presided the 5:00 pm with 1, 250 people attending (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
At 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon, Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon Jr., rector, and parish priest presided over the mass with about 1,250 people. In his homily, he acknowledged the historical contribution made by his predecessor in restoring another valuable devotion to the church. Just like how the original image of St. John the Baptist was brought back during the Quiapo parish feast day 2023 in honor of St. John the Baptist, the revival of the Buena Hora devotion serves as another event of abundant God’s grace and mercy .
(Left) Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. delivered his homily to the people & (Right) The image of the Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora brought out for procession after the 5:00 pm mass (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
“Lalo’t higit tayong dapat magalak sa tagumpay ng Mahal na Ina natin dahil ang tagumpay niya ay tagumpay din natin.” (More so, we should rejoice in the triumph of our Dear Mother because her victory is also our victory).
In his words, Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. stated that it was by the grace of God’s blessings that Mary’s body and soul had assumed into heaven preserving her immaculateness until the end of her earthly life reuniting with her Son in the divine realm:
“Kung katulad ni Maria, tayo’y magiging tapat sa kalooban ng Diyos, darating din ang tamang panahon. Ang Buena Hora o ang tamang panahon na tayo rin makakasama niya sa tahanan ng Ama.” (Like Mary, if we remain faithful and loyal to the will of God, we will be with Him at the right time. Buena Hora, or the right time, we will have a place with Him in His Father’s house).
During the homily, he also emphasized the significance of preserving and taking good care of our own body in essence to the celebration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to heaven:
The lay faithfuls praying and receiving the host during communion (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
“Mahalaga ang katawan. Tinutugunan din natin ang pangangailangan ng katawan, ginagalang natin ang katawan. Ang katawan natin ay templo ng Espiritu Santo. Iyong katawan ni Maria naging sisidlan ni Hesus Nazareno at tuwing tayo’y nangongomunyon, iyong katawan natin magiging sisidlan ng Diyos. Kaya igalang natin ang ating katawan.”(The body is of great importance to us. We attend to the needs of our bodies with respect. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. In reference to Mary, her body had become the vessel of Jesus of Nazarene. Also, when we receive the host, our bodies become the recipient of our Lord. That is why we must respect our bodies.)
In line with the prevailing issues of pornography commodifying the bodies of women and children, especially in the digital age, he objected to it, describing that this violates the respect for others’ bodies as these are not designed for entertainment purposes or to satisfy the lustful desires of the flesh. Further, Rev. Fr Sescon Jr. urged the faithful to nourish our souls further from our physical bodies in the spiritual sense to share in the hope of experiencing the glory of God in Heaven as our goal:
Rev. Fr. Sescon Jr. delivered his homily on respecting our bodies as vessels of our Lord in receiving Him into our lives as well as nourishing our souls to be united with Him in body, earth and spirit (Photo by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
“Kung pinapaganda mo ang mukha mo, sikapin mo rin namang pagandahin ang kaluluwa mo. Huwag lang panay paganda ng mukha. Kung pinapalakas mo katawan mo, palakasin mo din naman ang kaluluwa mo. Kung inaasam mo ang kalusugan, asamin mo din ang kaligtasan sapagkat sa bandang huli, ang ating tadhana katulad ni Maria ay ang makapiling si Hesus Nazareno sa langit, katawan at kaluluwa.”(If you are making yourself aesthetically pleasing physically, exert the same efforts in purifying your soul beyond frequent beautification of the outside face. If you are achieving a strong physical body, strengthen your inner core as well. If you aim for healthy living, yearn also for salvation because, like Mary’s destiny, we will be united with Jesus of Nazarene in heaven, body, and spirit.)
The Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora brought out for a procession around the church’s vicinity (Photos by Social Communications Ministry (SOCCOMM), Quiapo Church)
A procession followed this after capping off what is and will always be a Holy Day of Obligation for us. May the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary be a constant reminder to recognize all the great things God provides us throughout our journey here. Viva La Virgen! Viva La Virgen de Buena Hora! Viva Nuestra Seńora dela Buena Hora de Quiapo!
– Kidanzac A. Tallada | ADRM & EIAM