Facebook spurs Philippines' Marian devotion

(Photo: CBCP / Chito Segismundo)Image of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace.

People professing to a particular Marian devotion have grown in number as Filipinos and people around the world have come to know about it through social media.

Marian devotion is practiced by Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches and involves people dedicating themselves to, or venerating, Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Followers of the Mediatrix of All-Grace Facebook page continue to increase, according to Jovi Atanacio, who opened the fan page in the social media website.

In an interview with the Catholic Bishops' Conference News service, Atanacio said he and his peers looked to Mediatrix online to propagate devotion to Mary every Mother's day, the second Sunday of May.

"Part of the group's mission is to directly petition Pope Francis in granting his canonical approval to the Mediatrix and the miracles attributed through her intercession," Atanacio explained.

The page, titled "Mama Mary Mediatrix Cause: The Lay Devotees' Initiative," has more than 500 members, mostly male.

The Facebook page is administered by lawyer Marwil Llasos, a lay Dominican and Mariologist in the Philippines, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, and Angelo Diego Castro.

Castro is the son of a Manila-based broadcast journalist who produced a television special episode that popularized the devotion.

In 1948, a Carmelite novitiate experienced an apparition from the Virgin Mary in Lipa, Batangas, a city some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Manila.

But an initial ecclesiastical investigation ruled the apparition a hoax, calling it "non-supernatural."

But after the disclosures of a bishop on his deathbed, paving the way for reopening the reinvestigation, which is still going on.

Atanacio said devotees from as far as Brazil, Malta and India sought enlistment as promoters of the devotion.

Promoters are expected to organize activities to propagate the devotion such as house and hospital visitations, block rosaries, Saturday devotions, and processions of pilgrim images, among other initiatives.

Devotees could also make use of their talents in the promotion, Atanacio said.

Print-ready mediatrix prayer cards are available on the Facebook page for download and distribution.

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