Our Lady of the Barangays
Our Lady of the Barangay or known also as the Birheng Sang Barangay. A lot of sculpted images were installed in barangay chapels throughtout the country. Because of a widerange devotees, it reached key cities and towns in Chicago, California and New York in the United States.
This image of our Blessed Mother and Her Son Jesus Christ was painted by the late Mr. Crisogono A. Domingo, an inmate of Santa Barbara Leprosarium, a mere house painter. He painted this image as an offering to Our Blessed Mother for the BARANGAY SANG BIRHEN ORGANIZATION. This is a catholic action organization mandated in the Philippines.
BIRHEN SA BARANGAY was the title given by Datu Antonio C. Gaston as founder and leader of the “Barangay Sang Birhen” Organization. The idea of the image was born in Cadiz City in 1954. It was painted and finished by the painter just before the liturgical ceremonies.
Before Msgr. Emmanuel Yap, D.D. gave his canonical blessing in October 16, 1954, he wonderfully acclaimed it to be a work of art and inspiration. It the same date as we celebrate the Loyalty Day BSV. June 12, 1975, the original painting of the image of the Birhen sa Barangay arrived in the Diocese of Tagbilaran for her visitation, she was brought by the Regional Datu of Davao Lkn. Olibo and his companions. From the date of her arrival, the Image visitation, from the Parish to Parish, to the remotest Barrios or Barangay, lasted for almost 6 years and 15 days. The Last Parish visited was Sikatuna. From Sikatuna, she was brought to Jagna, Ilihan Hill Chapel on February 3, 1979 up to January 12, 1981.
On January 14, 1981, the original painting was brought back to Bacolod City for the historical visit of the Holy Father where the image of the Birhen Sa Barangay was personally blessed by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II on February 20, 1981, Bishop’s Palace, Bacolod City.
The Shrine of the Birhen Sa Barangay
When in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, ask anybody about a "Simbahan Lingin" and everybody would instantaneously point you to Cogon Shrine. Simabahan Lingin translates to a church that is round in shape.The Church is also known as the Shrine of the Birhen Sa Barangay. Centrally and strategically located in this northern area, its imposing dome along Airport Road seems but a stone’s throw from the highway towards Maribojoc town.
The edifice, circular in form, is known for its beauty as a showcase of modern architecture. Of recent vintage, it is a sight to behold as it sits on an artistically landscaped surrounding.
Above the central altar, beneath the dome, hangs a huge crucifix, reminiscent of the Church of the Risen Christ in the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City. At the left of the altar is the niche of the Birhen Sa Barangay, a Philippine art representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child. On the right of the altar is enthroned the Blessed Sacrament, the Real Presence of Christ Our Lord.
History of the Shrine
Up to the year 1969, the people of Cogon attended Eucharistic Celebrations in the Chapel of San Roque or in the Boy Scout building, both located in Cogon. The two priests assigned to hold Masses there, Rev. Fr. Didi de los Pueblos and Rev. Fr. Margarito Gonzaga, toyed with the idea of building a church for this community of about 10,000 faithful. Bishop Manuel Mascarinas encouraged the idea.
Different committees with diverse functions were created to put the idea into action. On August 9, 1970, the Bishop gave approval to the construction of a church on an acquired 5,843 sq. m. lot. Fund-raising activities and solicitations of donations were continuously done. The then Gov. Valentino Plaza of Agusan del Sur pledged to shoulder the cost of the cement needed and the construction began. The declaration of Martial Law by President Ferdinand Marcos on Sept. 11, 1971 delayed the church project for a while. Eventually the work was continued until the edifice was fit for Mass celebrations. Mass attendance grew and Purok offerings began. Chosen as Patron Saint was the Birhen Sa Barangay.
On Oct. 6, 1976, the Cogon Barangay Church Council appealed to the Bishop to make the church a Diocesan Shrine. Their request was granted on Oct. 31, 1976. On Dec. 8, 1980, the image of the Birhen sa Barangay was formally installed with pomp as the Shrine’s Patron Saint. The image is the Filipino version of the Blessed Mother wearing Filipino attire, holding in her arms the Child Jesus.
In 1993, Rev. Fr. Jose Sumampong, the third parish priest, assisted by Rev. Fr. Limuel Canezares, formally organized the Parish Economic Council (PEC), the Parish Development Council (PDC), and the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and initiated renovations on the church campus.. All parishioners were inspired to be involved with this project’s motto: SIMBAHAN KO, TUKORON KO (My Church, I will build it.) Other succeeding parish priests continued adding improvements.
A Parish Center, with function rooms for meetings, seminars, and gatherings has been constructed at the side of the church. A rectory, with offices, stands at the back. A Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel which now lies beside the Parish Center, is a donation of the Uy Family. The fencing of the frontage of the church, a lovely work of art , always wins the appreciation of visitors. A lighted grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, built against a garden wall, is a focal point of interest, with its flowing fountain and lush greenery. Of interest is a unique bridge-like pathway leading to the church’s gate facing the highway. The fencing of the back, enclosing the twin tennis courts, has been completed.
The nook for the saints, located on the right side midway between the altar and the main entrance, show devotions to the following: God Our Father, the Divine Mercy, the Holy Face, Saint Joseph, St. Isidore and St Roch. As a Shrine of the Blessed Mother, it is not surprising that the faithful seems to show partiality to our beloved Lady, through the presence of so many images representing Her, such as Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother Thrice Admirable, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Immaculate Conception, the Medalla Milagrosa, Our Lady of the Assumption, Our Lady of the Rosary, and a smaller replica of the Birhen sa Barangay. Of interest is that the feast day of each saint is placed close to the image, ever reminding the devotees of the start of their novenas.
Devotion to Our Lady of the Barangay
Many miracles were attributed to the image of “Birhen Sa Barangay”. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin grew through the years, especially in Bohol. All parishes, even the remotest barrios honor the Virgin by letting her visit every household. Together with the image of the “Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal” (in the absence of this image, other images of the Blessed Virgin are used) the banner of the Birhen Sa Barangay is brought along.
The miraculous image of the Birhen Sa Barangay, although not the original painting, is toured throughout the island in the months of June. It is received with love by all Boholanos. Roads, where it passes, are lined with flowers and potted plants. Others use blue and white flaglets or buntings.
The miraculous image usually stays overnight in a chapel where the faithful offer prayers, novenas and render vigils. From the time of her arrival until she leaves, a steady flow of the faithful come to light candles; some asking for favors while others thank her for graces granted. Others bring along their hankies and wipe the image with great love while praying ardently. A Mass is solemnly held in her honor before she leaves for another chapel.
In other areas, the image of the Barangay sang Birhen is widely represented with sculptured and framed paintings in various marian exhibits.
Annually, a carved image of the Birhen Sang Barangay joins the Grand Marian Procession held in Intramuros.
Prayer to Our Lady of the Barangay
O Mary of the Barangay, in your help we take our refuge
Holy Mother of God, we offer you and beg you to receive our prayers
And our sacrifices on each and every single day of our lives.
We entrust in your care all our Christian households
Remeber us always, so that salvation will be ours on this day, and so
That we will obtain the joy of life everlasting through Christ our Lord.
TAGBILARAN DIOCESE WEBSITE http://www.tagbilarandiocese.org/current_site/birhen-sang-barangay-parish-cogon-district-tagbilaran.html
COGON SHRINE: SIMBAHANG LINGIN
SHRINE OF THE BARANGAY SANG BIRHEN
Barcelona, Mary Anne. Ynang Maria: A Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines. Edited by Consuelo B. Estepa, Ph.D. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc, 2004.