I am no way as religious as most people I know, yet I have no doubt in my mind about the existence of God, the Creator and Almighty. After all, if one doesn't believe in a higher being, then you'd think that the essence of all life and things as we know are mere products of accident. I personally would rather not think of myself as one. Accidents, to my mind, are a random mistake, like a vehicular accident. I know that the world isn't one car crash. Having said that, I find nothing negative about being prayerful as long as you work hard for whatever you dream of. Then you learn to be grateful for every little blessing that comes your way.
"I didn't realize that Filipinos are so religious," quipped a Caucasian friend who recently visited Manila for the first time. But we are what we are, we of strong faith. Hear ye! Hear ye!
The church is called "Our Lady of Lourdes Church", located in the heart of Tagaytay City, under the Diocese of Imus. The church is administered by the Capuchin Order of the Franciscan Minors (the congregation under which Padre Pio belongs to).
Archibishop Luis Tagle, when he was bishop of the diocese, consecrated this spiritual abode in 2008 as homage to the 150th anniversary of the apparition of our Blessed Mother in Lourdes, France. To my mind, you don't have to fly to France anymore because it's here in Luzon. Moreover, if you think that Padre Pio's inclusion in this church is random, think again. He actually has two statues in the compound: one inside the church and an altar solely dedicated to him at the back of the church.
Here's a Prayer to obtain the graces through the intercession of Padre Pio:
"O Jesus, full of grace and charity, victim for sinners, so impelled by love for us that You willed to die on the cross. I humbly beseech you through St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who generously participated in your suffering, who loved you so much and labored so faithfully for the glory of Your Heavenly Father and for the good of souls. With confidence, I beseech You to grant me, through this intercession the grace of ......(mention your intention)...... which I ardently desire. Glory be to the Father... (repeat 3x)."
Aside from this, the compound has a Candle Chapel where you can offer colored candles for your various intentions (P5 for each candle, money goes to charity). What's interesting is how each color has been assigned for specific petitions, not dissimilar to when Buddhists offer lotuses to their altars (different colors for different petitions). I've been schooled in Catholic doctrines from grade school until college and I have never encountered this.
CANDLE COLORS FOR DIFFERENT PETITIONS:
Red - for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries; for the promotion and defense of human life
Pink - for good health, expression of joy and thanksgiving, and intentions already granted by the Lord
Green - for hope and enlightenment, studies and success (e.g. examinations, sales of products or services)
Blue - for harmonious relationships, peace and financial stability; for the sanctification of families
Yellow - for safe trips; for the eternal repose of the souls in purgatory (By the way, hasn't the concept of "purgatory" already been debunked by the Catholic Church?)
Lavender - for physical and spiritual healing; for the eternal rest of the souls of our deceased loved ones
White - for general petitions
If you're in Tagaytay, dropping by this church to say a prayer wouldn't hurt your soul. Or you can tie the knot here. Other than the obvious, the compound is a bit of an eye candy. There's a stately garden at the front yard, and an open-air altar/garden beside the Candle Chapel.
This is the Eye in the Sky!
|St. Pio of Pietrelcina|
|Our Lady of Lourdes|
|Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei.|
|Altar of Padre Pio at the back of the church.|
Schedule of Mass: