DAGUPAN City, Oct. 13, 2013—As Pope Francis consecrates the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on October 13, incoming president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Archbishop Socrates Villegas encouraged Filipinos to participate in the event in a number of ways. 

Rosary, tool for spiritual renewal 

“The consecration to the Immaculate Heart is an act of devotion. Like acts of devotion, it cannot remain with words. The words must be lived,” he said in a recent interview, stressing the need for Filipinos to demonstrate unity with the Holy Father through some concrete action of devotion on October 13, which also coincides with the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima. 

Villegas, who heads the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan said, Filipinos may make individual acts of consecration on October 13, as well as participate in the highest form of prayer, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation or confession would also be an apt way of being part of the consecration of the world, which Pope Francis will lead at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. 

He also suggested praying the rosary as a family as a “proven tool for spiritual renewal.” 

According to Villegas, who personally prefers to be called ‘Fr. Soc’, the Holy Father’s devotion to Mary is something the faithful can learn from and emulate. 

Devotion to Mary leads to Jesus 

“The Holy Father is a living example of living what he teaches…He is teaching us to know Mary, love Mary and imitate Mary,” he said, noting how one of the first things Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio did after he was elected Pope was to pray before the image of Our Lady at the Sanctae Maria Maggiore. 

When the faithful go to Mary, Villegas explained, she will not keep them to herself, but will walk with them to Jesus. 

“All devotion to Mary leads to Jesus,” he added. 

Some 200,000 faithful are expected to converge on St. Peter’s Square and participate in the Marian Day Pope Francis called for on October 13, which will include the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]