By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

IMPOSING PRESENCE. The 20-foot Regina Rosarii, also called Our Lady in the City, is all decked out for visitors at the Regina Rosarii Center for Contemplative Prayer in Scout Fernandez Street, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City on Sept. 9, 2023, a day after the feast of the nativity of Mother Mary. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday (Dec. 8, 2023) enjoined the Filipino faithful to draw inspiration from the Blessed Virgin Mary by being a blessing to everyone, especially the poor and marginalized. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday enjoined the Filipino faithful to draw inspiration from the Blessed Virgin Mary by being a blessing to everyone, especially the poor and marginalized.

In his message on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Marcos urged Filipino Catholics to embrace the virtues of purity, modesty, and faith exemplified by the Blessed Mother.

He said the virtuous life of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated because the traits she had “made her worthy to become the mother of Jesus Christ.”

“During these challenging times for our country, let us draw inspiration from the narrative of the Immaculate Conception as we overcome our limitations and draw on our strengths to see the world with grateful hearts and explore the deep meaning of our purpose in life,” he said.

“May this auspicious occasion allow us to fortify our Christian faith and inspire our fellow faithful to share our blessings to the poor and marginalized as a way of perpetuating peace, generosity, and kindness around us.”

The President also prayed for continued hope and divine guidance in building the “Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) that we aspire for.”

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a celebration by the Catholic community of Mary’s conception without original sin.

Even though the feast day occurs in the liturgical season of Advent, which prepares for the birth of Jesus Christ, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne.

The observance of the feast began with a Papal encyclical by Pope Pius IX when he formally defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Ineffabilis Deus, on Dec. 8, 1854.

Under Republic Act 10966 signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2017, Dec. 8 is declared as a special non-working holiday, in commemoration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. (PNA)