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Nation

400-year-old image of Our Lady of Caysasay brought to La Union

- Jun Elias -
SAN FERNANDO, La Union — Thousands of Chinese and Catholic devotees from various parts of the country trooped to the St. William Cathedral and Ma-Cho Temple here last Wednesday to celebrate the annual festivity of their patroness and honor the return of the 400-year-old image of Our Lady of Caysasay, which most Chinese believe is the reincarnation of their "sea goddess" — Ma-Tzu (Ma-Cho).

The foot-long image of the Blessed Virgin of Caysasay, which was last brought to La Union in 1974, was dressed in sky blue laced gown and encased in glass.

Aldrico Dy, president of Ma-Cho Church Inc., told The STAR that they requested the image to be brought back to La Union from its shrine in Taal, Batangas for the yearly festivity.

He said the original image had not been transported here since 1974.

"Binawal na nila (They barred it) because of its value. Usually iyong dinadala sa pilgrimage ay iyong replica (What they usually brought to the pilgrimage was the replica) and the six-inch tall image of Ma-Cho," Dy said.

Before the Mass and the vigil, the image was brought to the Ma-Cho Temple here after a procession and dragon dance around the city.

The temple is nestled atop a hill overlooking the sea and was built in 1976 in honor of Ma-Cho.

Dy said most of the visitors who attended the Mass and vigil came from Metro Manila and Southern and Northern Luzon.

"We hold yearly pilgrimage to Taal because we believe that Our Lady of Caysasay and Ma-Cho are one and the same. This year’s event was the initiative of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales because he wanted to revive the old (ties) of the Catholics and the Taoists where we went to Taal (for the pilgrimage) and they (Taal pilgrims) went here for the festivity," he said.

The Taoist called their sea patroness Ma-Cho, while Catholics pay homage to it as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The image of the Virgin was reportedly seen by a fisherman in 1603 in the Pansipit River in Barangay Caysasay in Taal, Batangas. The village was a sanctuary of casay-casay or kingfishers, which the Spaniards referred to as caysasay.

Since then, the image has been enshrined in the Taal church where Masses were held in her honor.

In the Chinese hierarchy of folk deities, Ma-Cho is the powerful Queen of Heavens and protector of the sea.

Born under the mortal name of Lin Mo-liang (meaning "silent girl") during the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127 A.D.) in Fujian, China, she was believed to be exceptionally pure in spirit and compassionate.

It is said that she had supernatural powers and performed miracles, subduing evil spirits and averting sea disasters.

vuukle comment

ALDRICO DY

BARANGAY CAYSASAY

BATANGAS

BEFORE THE MASS

BLESSED VIRGIN OF CAYSASAY

CARDINAL GAUDENCIO ROSALES

CHO

IMAGE

LA UNION

MA-CHO

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