Edsa Shrine: Filipino legacy, faith continue to live on for 25 years

Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue or popularly known as Edsa is a famous landmark that left an indelible mark in the Philippine history as a bastion of power that emanated from the people to oust an oppressive dictatorship.

At the heart of this cradle of heroism is a shrine that was consecrated and dedicated on December 15, 1989 to Our Lady, Queen of Peace, who miraculously interceded to bring down a tyrannical leadership and restore the country's democracy through the peaceful and bloodless People Power Revolution in 1986.

The Edsa Shrine that came into being since then has become a living monument of praise and pride for every Juan. 

"And that has developed from a small, thriving community into a full-grown, practically huge one that is not only serving the Church, but serving the people who come here to fulfill their spiritual needs," said Rev. Fr. Nilo Mangussad, rector of Edsa Shrine.

While others think of it as a parish, the priest reiterated that it's merely a "quasi-parish" welcoming individuals and families of faithful, forming 23 ministries and serving multitudes of people from different sectors. 

Simply, its vision and on-going mission is to become a vibrant community of Christian servant-leaders that advocates love, peace, truth and unity, inspired by Mary, Queen of Peace, Our Lady of Edsa.

"So, it is indeed a conglomeration of a lot of different people from different dioceses," Fr. Nilo said. "Historically coming from then Cardinal Sin and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, it is trying to become a community that will show that unity is possible; prayer to love problems is possible; a community that loves, understands, forgives is possible; and that truth, freedom is possible not by powerful means or force, but by prayer."

Although the Shrine has constantly grown as a community for the last 25 years, he conceded that still it has been faced with a lot of challenges and yet "the essence of the spirit is continuing up to now that the community growing with that spirit is not only keeping to themselves, but going upwards to let the people experience it at the way we experience it here inside."

"The Shrine is growing bigger and bigger that the space is no longer enough to contain the organizations, the ministries, and the various groups that want to come here to experience it. And we are now exponentially going out," he stressed.

As the Edsa Shrine turns silver this year, it is but apt to relive its glory with a big bang revolving around its theme,"EDSA Shrine @ 25: Truly Alive!"

Kicking off the jubilee celebration was the unveiling of its logo last October, followed by the Bayanihan Clean-up activity by the different ministries of the EDSA Shrine last month, and a series of talks on the Art and Architecture of the EDSA Shrine. 

Leading to the inception date itself, Novena Masses to Our Lady, Queen of Peace are now ongoing until December 14, at 5:30 pm on weekdays and Saturdays and 6 pm on Sundays. Different bishops and beloved priests preside, among which, no less than His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, who will celebrate with the community on the ninth day.

The ceremonial mass of the 25th Anniversary of EDSA Shrine will be on December 15 at 5:30 pm to be officiated by His Excellency, Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and incumbent CBCP president. 

A grand celebration concert dubbed "Edsa Shrine @ 25: Truly Alive!" shall follow at Meralco Theater at 8 pm. This free concert is produced and participated in by many volunteers of the Shrine to look back at its humble beginnings and where it is headed to. Performances from the various ministries and members of the community as well as surprise guest artists are lined up.

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