The Archdiocese of Caceres unveils today the Porta Mariae, a commemorative arch of the tercentenary or 300th celebration of the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Naga city.
The grand portal, 18 meters wide, four meters deep and 11 meters high, has on its top the 10-feet tall brass image of the Lady of Peñafrancia and two angels.
The main portal’s center accommodates at least eight persons while the two small gates accommodates three persons.
“The rite of opening doors marks a time of elation and thanksgiving,” Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD, said of the incoming inauguration.
Porta Mariae was conceived by the Archdiocese of Caceres and realized by the Peñafrancia Devotees of Metro Manila Foundation Inc. headed by retired general Salvador Mison which launched a fund-raising campaign around the globe to finance the project.
Archbishop Legaspi said the gate is “a permanent symbol of Ina’s abiding presence here in Bicol and in all her devotees all over the world. In secular history, gates and door are monuments of victory and triumph.”
Mison said the gate marks the triumph of Christianity “over the hearts and minds of Filipinos, particularly Bicolanos” and “a landmark legacy, where devotees and tourists will pay homage to for years to come.”
“It is our lasting gift to Ina and a welcome gift to the coming generations,” said Naga city parish priest Msgr. Zosimo Ma. Sanado, HP.
Devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia began in 1710 and has grown worldwide. Its feast day is celebrated every third Saturday of September.
It has been a tradition in the Catholic church to build structures to commemorate momentous occasions. Specifically, a Porta Sancta (or Holy Door) is one of such structures, traditionally built for and opened on a Jubilee year when pilgrims enter through those doors to gain the plenary indulgence connected with the Jubilee.
On the occasion of the 300th year of devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia in 2010, the Archbishop of Caceres, His Excellency The Most Rev. Msgr. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, OP, DD, has decided to build the Porta Mariae (or the Door of Mary), a porta sancta dedicated to the Patroness of Bicol