The Vatican has authorized the canonical coronation of the centuries-old image of Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio enshrined at a parish church in Cebu province’s Boljoon town.
The Parish of Patrocinio de Maria on Feb. 13 announced that it has received the decree from the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments granting the image a pontifical crowning.
“This is a blessing for the graces manifested by the many miracles experienced by the people of Boljoon, Cebu and other pilgrims whose prayers were answered through her intercession and who were protected on many occasions, from past to present, from the Moro Raids, fire, calamities, epidemic and pestilence,” said Rouel Longinos, chairman of the Boljoon parish canonical coronation executive committee.
According to historical documents, the image is also called “Patrocinio de Maria Santisima” (Patronage of the Most Holy Mary) in its more ancient form. “Patrocinio” refers to the Spanish word for “protection” citing the Virgin’s motherly care over the Church.
The petition for the canonical coronation of the Patricinio de Maria began in June 2021, around seven months after the image was granted an episcopal coronation by the Cebu archdiocese on Nov. 14, 2020.
The devotion to Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio is expressed by locals through various cultural programs, particularly the Bolho Festival (Festival of Abundant Water) offered in her honor since 2008 and the annual fiesta every second Saturday of November.
Founded as a chapel in 1599 and as a parish in 1690 by the Augustinians, the church of Boljoon has been dedicated to the Patrocinio de Maria for more than four centuries.
Due to its well-preserved structure, the church itself was declared as a national historical landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 1999.
In 2001, the National Museum of the Philippines also declared the church a National Cultural Treasure.
The coronation rites are set on April 23, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. as part of the closing ceremonies of the archdiocese’s celebration of 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines.
Boljoon’s image is the third Marian statue to be granted a pontifical coronation in the archdiocese. The two others are Nuestra Señora de la Regla enshrined at her national shrine in Lapu-Lapu City and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, venerated at the Our Lady Guadalupe Shrine in Cebu City.
The archdiocese also has one pontifically crowned image of Christ (Santo Niño de Cebu) and six episcopally crowned Marian images: Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario de Cebu, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios de Labangon, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios de Odlot, Nuestra Señora de Lourdes de Punta Princesa, La Inmaculada Concepción de Cebu, and Nuestra Señora del Carmen – La Limpia de Cebu.