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Photo: Fran Bourdon

By Dan Valenti (Sep 22, 2008)
The new mission of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception in the Philippines has gotten off to a big start — big and tall — climaxed by the "Triple Grand Celebration" at Divine Mercy Hills in the city El Salvador, Mindanao.

From Sept. 5-7, several hundred people attended the triduum. The celebration culminated on Sept. 8, when more than 20,000 pilgrims journeyed to Divine Mercy Hills before dawn for (1) the dedication and blessing of a 50-foot Divine Mercy statue, (2) the formal turnover of the statue to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, and (3) to celebrate the Blessed Mother's birthday.

VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY THAT DOCUMENTS THE EVENT AND THE MARIANS' LATEST MISSIONARY EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES.

Recognizing that the Marians have been official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message since 1941, Church officials in the Philippines have invited the Congregation to have a physical presence in this southeast Asian nation. The Marians' mission began in June. The Marians will have a key role in the building and administration of the proposed interdiocesan Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador.

Heavy Marian Participation
Participating in the dedication on Sept. 8 were Fr. Jan Rokosz, MIC, general of the Congregation, and Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC, second counsel to the general, both from Rome; Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, Marian vocation director based in Steubenville, Ohio; and the Marians' three missionaries to the Philippines, Fr. Jan Migacz, MIC, Fr. Walerian Pozniak, MIC, and Fr. Mariusz Jarzabek, MIC. Fran Bourdon, executive director of the Marian Helpers Center in Stockbridge, Mass., also attended.

The four-day celebration included talks on Divine Mercy, Adoration, testimony, daily Rosary and Mass, and prayer. On day four, the culmination of the festival took place on the field altar in front of the statue of The Divine Mercy.

In its coverage of the final day, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said of Divine Mercy Hills:

The faithful come by the thousands every day in this quiet city west of Cagayan de Oro to pray and marvel at the 75-foot Shrine of the Divine Mercy, said to be the tallest of its kind in the world. Sitting on a hill 500 feet above sea level, the shrine looks out to Macalajar Bay and a view of the embattled villages in the mountains of Lanao. The location is not deliberate, the priests, who take care of the shrine, say, adding that God chose the place to be a center for dialogue and healing for the people of Mindanao.



The newspaper went on to quote Fr. Joseph Roesch, who said the future Shrine will serve as a venue where dialogues between Christians and Muslims could be held. "This can be a place of dialogue and mercy," he told the Inquirer. "There's such a need for a place like this, and rightly so because we are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God."

Main celebrant for the dedication celebration was the Most Rev. Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, archbishop of Cagayan de Oro. The Most Rev. Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, gave the homily. Concelebrants included Archbishop Emeritus Jesus B. Tuquib, other bishops, and all priests present, including the Marians.

'Unbelievable' Generosity
"The generosity of the Filipinos was unbelievable," said Bourdon. "The local Divine Mercy Foundation did a tremendous job organizing the celebration and developing the property, which they are continuing to do."

Bourdon said plans include a Divine Mercy shrine, a Rosary walk, Stations of the Cross, an amphitheater, and a Marian residence. He said the Marians would be assisting the foundation in turning Divine Mercy Hills "into a center of healing, where the focus will be on bringing the Lord's Divine Mercy to as many people as possible."

The message of The Divine Mercy has spread like wildfire throughout the Philippines, and Divine Mercy Hills is being developed to meet the growing spiritual needs of the local populace.

"Divine Mercy has brought about renewed faith through the devotion," says Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Manila and director of the Divine Mercy Apostolate of the Philippines (DMAP.) "The message has also given the people a deepened sense of God in His mercy, a sense of hope through the spiritual and corporeal works of mercy, a new dimension of stewardship and loving service, and greater trust in God, particularly in dark moments with the present ills of society."

Fathers Walerian, Mariusz and Jan will continue to work on developing efforts to increase awareness of Divine Mercy in the island nation. Fathers Walerian and Jan are stationed at Divine Mercy Hills. Father Mariusz is attached to the vicar general's office at the Archdiocese of the Philippines office in Manila.

Please consider helping the Marians in our new mission in the Philippines.

Dan Valenti writes for numerous publications of The Marians of The Immaculate Conception, both in print and online. He is the author of "Dan Valenti's Journal" for thedivinemercy.org.

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Mary S. — Sep 24, 2008 - 15:10 EDT

It was really a grand triple celebration, we where there for two days.On those days I, personally say I feel the presence of our Lord,How He works on the nature, the last day was Monday Mama Mary's birthday,words cannot be explain,I can still feel the goosepimple running to my skin,Wow God is really Good.Thank you for all the priests who helped.God bless you all.

Remy Dulguime — Sep 25, 2008 - 19:02 EDT

Our whole family are devoted to Divine Mercy. How I wish that someday I can go to this place and visit this beautifull Divine Mercy Hill in the Phil. Please
let us know if their an orgaization that we can contact to bring us to this place. Thank you.

Romania Attoh from Nigeria - Sept 28, 2008. — Sep 28, 2008 - 6:00 EDT

I thank God for his love on us and mostly for giving us his Divine mercy, cos with the way we are in this generation of ours, we do need his mercy. I believe in the Divine mercy prayer and so i try to pray every day when am less busy; and i advise all to join me for God's mercy on our country and the world as a whole. I did not participate in the frest day in my country. but i sent my name for prayer and got the certificate. Thank You Jesus. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.

Bembem — Feb 8, 2009 - 4:39 EST

It was really worth going to the place and pray! When I entered to the Healing Chapel and prayed...it was like talking to Jesus who is physically alive, and I have felt the healing inside me.

Anna Baker — Apr 19, 2009 - 10:05 EDT

Today is the day THE DIVINE MERCY FEAST, In the grace of our Lord Jesus over flowing in us, I was able to send my whole family in Iligan to the Shrine today, I am so over joyed that the Lord touch my papa's heart to go.
My friend Lorelyn Dumaug updated me of whats going on in there. There is already a website, although still under construction but you can view some pictures and ways to help the foundation, it is www.divinemercyhills.com I hope to visit this Shrine when I get home to Philippines. Praise Jesus for His Mercy to us especially today April 19th, 2009

Rommel — Jul 22, 2009 - 8:09 EDT

Mabuhay Divine Mercy of Jesus..Thank you for everything and giving me another chance of my life..

Clara — Apr 19, 2010 - 6:51 EDT

My Lord has always blessed me with everything at the right time.
I love my Lord.
Thank you Jesus and Praise You Jesus.

vic — Apr 26, 2010 - 12:07 EDT

I am a devotee of the Divine Mercy whose overflowing love for us is unfathomable. Divine Mercy is what this world and i hope the people will realize the incalculable merits that one can have if they will only ask for Jesus' Divine Mercy at all times.

lilet — Sep 22, 2011 - 22:46 EDT

i haven't gone through to divine mercy.. i heard a lot about this place and I'm very eager to go.

My homeland — Oct 13, 2011 - 1:50 EDT

I miss this beautiful place! I had lots of memories of this land during my childhood with my grandpa the late Juan Clarin Bahian Sr. He sold this land to the Divine Mercy Foundation and part of the price he donated it to the foundation. I remember the first mass was held april 6, 2003 with the franciscan fathers during the birthday of my lolo. He died at the age of 101 last 2007. I am so happy that because of the shrine our place has put into the map. Thank you lolo for sharing your only treasure to the people rather than to us because it saves millions of souls for convertion. We miss you so much lolo!

dodong b. — Feb 7, 2012 - 1:15 EST

thank you very much Jesus, The merciful God for healing my daughter on her illness... Again, thank you so much our Lord of Divine Mercy.
And also for sparing us Lord from the recent floods and earthquakes.

Lorelyn — Apr 10, 2012 - 3:37 EDT

The Feast of Divine Mercy is coming very soon!

inday — Aug 4, 2012 - 9:27 EDT

Sorry to say this,... kon mahimo unta, isahon lang or i duol lang ang Dakotanan sa Kandila sa guibutanagan sa Healing Water para isa lang ang adtoan, isa ra ka purpose, pares man gyud na Kalayo ug Tubig, usahay sobra ka init ug gutom, halos dili na namo kaya molakaw adto sa dagkotanan, amo nalang ibilin usahay sa dalan ang kandila kay layo na kaayo, kana kon puedi lang unta...

Ako isab na obserbahan nga over pricing ra isab ang Comfort room, 5.00 pesos kada isa, unya kon daghan sa familia mo gamit sa CR, mao mao ra ang balon nga cuarta, looy sab kaayo ang mga pobre nga nanaad, wala mo bagay sa ngalan Divine Mercy, mas maayo pa sa terminal sa Rural kay 2.00 ra, ngano dili man himoon nalng 3.00 para affordable, kay sa magpugong sa guibati nga nagkurogkurog na...guikasubo ko sa pag pagawas sa akong guibati, pero tinood ni...nalooy ko sa mga pobre.

Salamat sa Divine Mercy nga akong na dawat karon sa akong pag visita, wala ko magdahum makakompisal ko, nakasimba, naka dala ug healing water..Thank you Lord,,,the Blessings, the Graces and the gifts of life, today i am healed with my ailing health, thank you Lord Jesus..I Trust in You..!

Martin Machielsen — Aug 4, 2013 - 23:27 EDT

Last weekend, we did visit the Shrine of The Divine Mercy in El Salvador in Cagayan de Oro. We left Bayugan City (Province of Agusan del Sur) on Friday 9th of August 2013 at 21:30 Hrs (09:30 pm) with a truck loaded with people from our Barangay, headed towards El Salvador. After approximately 1 hour the truck broke down and so we were forced to wait for the mechanic to repair the truck in order to continue our Pilgrimage to the Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

The weather was good and the temperature was pleasant…………… until Gingoog. Circa 20 Kilometers after Gingoog it started to rain intensively and it did not stop raining until we passed Cagayan de Oro City. Due to the fact that we were riding a truck, (with trappal as cover) most of us were soaking wet and more or less under-cooled on arrival at Saturday morning at 07:00 hrs. We did eat our breakfast and went inside for the morning Mass. Even though we did “suffer” during the trip, we all enjoyed our staying in The Shrine of The Divine Mercy.

At the Time we were allowed to climb the stairs to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, I also took the opportunity to say may personal prayers. The weather was moistly and cold. However, during my prayers I felt a strong light which was shining strait in my face and it felt warm, the more because I felt too had lost contact with the ground and so was floating in the sky. After most of us did our prayers at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, we all went down the Hill and went back into the truck, headed for Bayugan City.

Now I have to explain a little what happened to me. A little more than 1 year ago (14 month), I had a motor accident. My right shoulder was dislocated and so I went to a Hospital in Butuan City. During the surgery, the physician (surgeon) discovered a multiple and complicated fracture in my upper-arm-bone. After the first surgery, the surgeon advised me the second surgery for restoring the complicated fracture, preventing permanent damage and a severe blockage of my right arm. However, I could not finance this second surgery and took the risk and accepted this permanent damage.

So for a little more than a year I am “suffering” pain in my injured arm. This arm is very much limited in function… but I accepted this destiny.

During our ride back from the Shrine of The Divine Mercy to Bayugan City last Saturday, again we suffered severe rainfall during the (mostly) whole trip. The fact that nobody did get sick in the open truck encountering the rain nobody did get sick. That on its own is already an big miracle. However, next morning, Sunday 4th of August 2013 we woke up……….healthy AND…………………. No more blockade…… no more pain… and no more limitation in my right shoulder and my right upper-arm-bone……………….. completely healed………………..


THANK GOD and THANKS to GOD for healing me……………………………. and thanks to you all for welcoming us in this Sacred Place………… The Shrine of The Divine Mercy…

GOD BLESS YOU ALL

Martin K. Machielsen


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