The Archdiocese of San Fernando will celebrate on September 8 the 65th anniversary of the canonical coronation of its patroness, the Virgen de los Remedios, with the theme: 500 Banuang Kasalpantayanan: king Saup ning Cruzada, lalung Mipalalaman at Mipatutuan (500 Years of Faith: Towards a Deeper and Witnessing Faith through the Crusade).
The theme for this year’s celebration calls for a deeper faith by actively witnessing to it through the aid of the Cruzada de Penitencia Y Caridad. The devotion of Kapampangans to the Virgen de los Remedios began with the Cruzada de Caridad y Buen Voluntad (Crusade of Charity and Good Will, Cruzada for brevity) initiated by the first bishop of San Fernando, Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero, to combat the thriving ideologies of socialism, communism and the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. It was later renamed as the Cruzada de Penitencia y Caridad (Crusade of Penance and Charity) when it included an image of the crucified Christ, now locally known as the Santo Cristo del Perdon y Caridad (Christ of Pardon and Charity).
The Cruzada is done by the visits of the images of the Virgen de los Remedios and Santo Cristo del Perdon y Caridad to every parish and communities in the province. Its main goal is to call for penance and reparation for sins and to live out the Christian faith through acts of charity more commonly locally known as lámac. During the visits, Masses are celebrated, the sacrament of penance is administered, the rosary is ceaselessly prayed while the images are borne in evening processions, and offerings for the poor and the sick are collected.
This year, the Cruzada was made possible through the Dalo Balen, where the canonically-crowned image of the Virgen de los Remedios, the Sto. Cristo del Perdon y Caridad and San Jose visited one parish per town or city, in cooperation with the government.
This year’s celebration entails our response to shed God’s light to our world that is confronted not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but also of a pandemic of indifference, self-preservation, corruption, false information, troll armies, throw-away culture, and the culture of death— abortion (even defined as essential health care), mercy-killing, assisted suicide, capital punishment, extra-judicial killings, and ideologies that are contrary to the values of the Gospel.
The jubilee being celebrated is a calling to a renewed response to the faith we have received through our ancestors, and in our baptism and confirmation. Just as how Bishop Guerrero envisioned the Cruzada to reinvigorate the lukewarm and skin-deep faith of the Kapampangans then, today, we are invited to confirm our faith as Christians by witnessing Christ to others wherever we are and whatever life situations we are in.