Bishop Roberto Gaa of Novaliches declared the Our Lady of Mercy as the “official Mother” of his diocese during Mass to mark the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God on New Year’s eve.
“She is a mother, the mother of many parishes and the Mother of Novaliches,” said the prelate in his message to the faithful.
He said the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy has petitioned last month for the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary to be proclaimed as the “Mother of Novaliches.”
Bishop Gaa said the parish, which dates back 165 years ago, was the first church in Novaliches.
“From her sprung so many offsprings and rightly so, she is Mother,” said Bishop Gaa.
“This is why when we received the petition, when we looked at it, when we examined it, we deemed it worthy to start the process of formally taking on the name ‘Ina ng Novaliches,’” he added.
The prelate said that the declaration is the first in a series of undertakings to formalize the “Mother of Mercy” as the “Mother of Novaliches.”
Among that plans lined up is the formalization of the parish’s link with the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome for the granting of indulgences.
The declaration formally made the Nuestra Senora De La Merced or Mary Mother of Mercy as the official “Ina Ng Novaliches” or Mother of Novaliches.
Father Peregrino Tomas, rector of the parish, cited at least three points why the Our Lady of Mercy is the Mother of Novaliches: historical, geographical, and devotional.
Aside from being the diocese’s first parish, he said the devotion to Our Lady of Mercy has grown faster with devotees coming from in and outside the diocese.
“It may be noisy here, but here is where people pray. Here is where they talk and pour out their hearts to ‘Ina ng Awa’. Our mother is here, ‘Ina ng Novaliches’,” he said.
The parish houses three old images of the Our Lady of Mercy: the “Primera” or the original image brought by the Augustinians in 1856 and kept in a retablo at the shrine’s second floor, the “Segunda” or the image usually used in processions and pilgrimages, and the “Tercera” or the life-sized image enshrined in the church’s altar.
Novaliches was erected a diocese in December 2002, with Christ, the Good Shepherd, as its principal patron.