As part of the celebration Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception during the University Week, the Marian community gathered in Saint Mary’s University (SMU) College grounds to welcome the image of Nuestra Señora de Visitation of Piat or Our Lady of Piat in the morning of December 6, 2016. A concelebrated mass was presided by Most Rev. Prudencio P. Andaya, Jr., CICM, D.D. in the afternoon.
There were lined up activities for the Lady of Piat including procession and visits in the Grade School and High School Campuses of SMU, novena prayers and masses. It was seated at the St. Mary Seat of Wisdom Chapel located in the College campus where devotees from Bayombong and other neighboring towns are welcome to visit and join the scheduled masses.
The five-day visit of the Lady of Piat intends to strengthen the SMU community’s love, faith and devotion to our Mother Patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The miraculous Marian image is popularly known as the Black Virgin Mary because of its distinct dark complexion. Historical accounts claim that the Virgin Mary with the infant
Jesus on her left arm was sculpted in Macau and was brought to the Philippines by the Dominican friars in 1604. On June 20, 1954, Our Lady of Piat was designated as “Queen of Heaven and Earth” and her church was announced a National Shrine for Catholic Philippines in a ceremony led by papal delegate Most Rev. Egidio Vagnozzi.
Today, it is also known as the Mother of Cagayan, the patroness of Cagayan Valley. It is enshrined in its Basilica Minore located in the town of Piat, Cagayan. To the faithful in Cagayan, the Lady is popularly designated as “Apo Baket”, an Ilocano term of endearment which means Old Lady (literally), or Venerable Matriarch (formally).
The venerated Marian image was originally called the Nuestra Señora dela Santissimo Rosario or Our Lady of the Holy Rosary due to the fact that it was the Order of Preachers that commissioned the image.#
Most Rev. Prudencio P. Andaya, Jr., CICM blesses the image of Our Lady of Piat by incensing during the institutional mass. (contributed photo)