THE centuries-old image of the Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, The Clean One) has been restored and it will go back to its home—the altar of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos on Magallanes St., Cebu City on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, the feast of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
Parish priest Rev. Fr. Joseph Panaligan, OAR said on Friday, Dec. 3 that the 300-year-old venerated image underwent restoration for nearly five months.
Last July 19, a “despedida” was held in honor of the patroness of the Carmelite Order as she left the parish for the first time since the 1700s.
According to Panaligan, the La Acogida de la Virgen or the Reception of the Virgin will start with a motorcade at 1 p.m. on Dec. 8. A welcome procession and public veneration will follow, before the homecoming event will conclude with a mass.
Based on the church’s record, the image was sculpted in 1718 and is considered the oldest Marian image in Cebu City. It bore the original title of La Limpia Concepcion. After the 1854 Declaration of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, its title changed to Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
During World War II, a bomb fell inside the Recoletos church, but it did not explode. According to church records, many Cebuanos attributed the miracle to the protection of the Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
Panaligan also announced that the application for episcopal coronation for the patroness was approved by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and it will take place on Jan. 8, 2022. An episcopal coronation is an act of a local bishop or archbishop recognizing the veneration of a Marian image under a specific title being venerated in a certain locality.
The parish priest said the feeling of anticipating the return of the patroness can be likened to a child who has not seen his mother for a very long time.
“December 8 will be joyful, emotional, memorable, and historical for all of us,” said Panaligan.
The parish priest also added that being the center of the Carmel devotion in Visayas and Mindanao, they will also be filing a petition for the declaration of the parish as Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia next year.