In accordance with law, Dec. 8 of each year is observed as “a special non-working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines.”
The Philippines is among 25 countries in the world that have set aside a special non-working holiday on this particular day. The law that was enacted for this purpose is brief and succinct. Section 1 simply reiterates the declaration made in the title of the law; section 2 states when it would take effect.
The law was approved by President Duterte on Dec. 23, 2017 and was implemented for the first time in 2018. Hence, this year marks the fourth time the feast of the Immaculate Conception is being observed as a non-working holiday.
There was not much publicity or fanfare surrounding the approval of the law in Congress. Apparently, this matter did not evoke dispute or debate.
The law was enacted simply to affirm a widely acknowledged reality: that there is strong, broad-based devotion to Mary among Filipinos. Pope Pius XII proclaimed Mary, under the title of the Immaculate Conception, as the Patroness of the Philippines on Sept. 12, 1942, upon the request of the bishops of the Philippines.
Maria is perhaps one of the most common names among Filipinos. Devotion to Mary is demonstrated in many ways: churches and parishes named after her; the praying of the rosary; novenas petitioning for her intercession to obtain favors pertaining to health and well-being; the wearing of medals and scapulars.
Among the popular devotions to Mary are those offered to her as Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran; Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City; Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan; Virgen de la Peñafrancia in Naga City; and Our Lady of Fatima.
The observance of a non-working holiday provides an opportunity for prayer, reflection and discernment.
We are a nation in search of healing, recovery and renewal. Filipinos from all walks of life would do well to come together in solidarity for the sake of the future of our next generation.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph