Sunday, October 9, 2011

84. RETRO-SANTO: Our Lady of Atonement, Baguio City

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Atonement (Baguio Cathedral) was built thru the efforts of the CICM
(Congregacio Immaculati Cordis Marriae) missionaries who started it all when they arrived in the resort city on 16 November 1907: Rev. Fr. Oktaaf Vandelwalle, Fr. Serafin Devesse and Fr. Henry Verbeck.

Their first mission was to build a chapel on the house of a retired treasurer along Session Road, and thus, the beginnings of the Baguio Cathedral came to be in 1908.
The chapel was dedicated to St. Patrick.

By 1919, a campaign for the construction of the “Church on top of the hill”, known as Mount Mary, began. An architect-priest, Rev. Fr. Leo Valdemans, drafted the design of Cathedral plan, which were ably executed by
Fr. Adolph Cansse, a civil engineer, with the help of 25 Igorot carpenters.

In 1924, the twin towers of the Cathedral were built and 4 bells from Belgium were installed. The Cathedral has a distinctive rose-colored exterior and served as an evacuation center during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines in World War II, having survived the carpet-bombing of Baguio in 1945.

The image of Our Lady of Atonement rests in the cathedral. In the beautiful representations of Mary under this title, she wears a red mantle, symbolizing the Precious Blood of which she was the Immaculate source, and by which she was made immaculate. It was by the shedding of this most precious blood that the redemption of the world was accomplished. She wears a blue inner tunic, and she holds the infant Jesus in her arms. The Child Jesus is depicted holding a cross, the symbol of His suffering and glory. Her Feast Day: July 9

Let us pray. O God, who didst deign that we, thy children, should invoke our Mother Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Atonement; grant that through her powerful intercession we may obtain the fullness of thy blessings; through thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

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