Los Angeles Filipinos pray for peace and unity between church and state in the Philippines

LOS ANGELES — From Pampanga, Philippines, to Los Angeles, California, hundreds of Kapampangans recently gathered at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for the Virgen de los Remedios Mass, celebrating the 63rd Canonical Coronation anniversary of the Devotion.

“We feel honored really, because Virgen de los Remedios is our patron saint of Pampanga and it’s a very good cause,” said Veronica Yabut.

Los Angeles is believed to the first archdiocese in the country to bring the Kapampangan tradition stateside, and for the devotees, they said it brings miracles.

“Virgen is an answered prayer. Like my sister was sick,” said Elvira Chan.

“Very helpful for everything for us. She is always trying to help us as much as we can and we really appreciate her,” said Doctor Norma Sacleda.

The Virgen de los Remedios made its way into Pampanga in the 1950s, when Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero revived the devotion to ease tensions over a communist threat in the region.

“Just as the devotion began 60 plus years ago with calls for peace during times of insurgency,” said Vidal Agus. “This year’s prayer intentions are still calling for peace this time, for persecuted priests.”

“We join the Filipino people in imploring the blessed mother for the safety of priests, religious, and clergy who are accused of sedition in defense of God’s truth, dignity and life and justice.”

Earlier this year, the Philippine National Police charged 8 clergymen with sedition along with other opposition leaders.

Last month the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines also held a National day of prayer for the accused clergymen.

“Because of what’s going on in the Philippines, with the conflict between state and church we’re here praying for reconciliation we’re praying for peace. We pray that there’s a mutual understanding and respect between the government officials and catholic hierarchy and for these two institutions to work together to bring peace,” said Father Rodel Balagtas.

For the Kapampangan Father Rodel, he believes the virgin of remedies had answered prayers from his hometown before, and the power of prayer can once again unify the Philippines.

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