DIFFERENT images and titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary were highlighted at the Grand Marian Exhibit from May 15 to May 22 at the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians in Parañaque.

The shrine displayed 60 images of the Blessed Mother, brought by custodians and collectors of religious artworks from different parts of the country.

Fr. Vitaliano "Chito" Dimaranan, director of Marian Programs and Initiatives at the shrine, said the exhibit sought to generate interest among the faithful on the immense role of the Blessed Mother in the life of the Church.

“By putting up that exhibit, we tell the world that devotion to Mary is alive and well, and that the task of imitating her virtues is not yet passé, not yet outdated, but remains relevant and timely,” Dimaranan said in an interview.

The different images and titles of the Blessed Virgin show that the Blessed Mother is a “multi-faceted” human being, Dimaranan said. “While she herself does not need those titles, we men and women need to be reminded at every turn that holiness is what we are all called to, and holiness is possible, in imitation of Mary,” Dimaranan said.

The apparitions of the Blessed Mother emphasize the “incarnation” or oneness of God with men, said lawyer Marwil Llasos, an expert in mariology and apologetics.

“The Blessed Virgin is only depicting the universal redemption achieved by Jesus Christ who became incarnate to be one of us,” he said in a separate interview. “He belongs to us all and so does Mary because she is his mother and we are her children.”

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Each title of the Blessed Virgin corresponds to personal experiences with Mary, Llasos explained. For example, the title of Mary as “Mother of Perpetual Help” came as a result of answered prayers for help to the Blessed Virgin. The title “Mother of Good Counsel” was drawn from experiences of the faithful who prayed to her seeking advice in times of trouble and doubt.

“You can relate to a person through a particular title that is dear or known to you. These titles tell us about a specific ministry or role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as experienced by an individual, and somehow you appreciate that experience with a title,” Llasos said.

The month of May is considered as the Marian month because of its association with the spring season in other countries, said Llasos. It is the month when flowers bloom, and the Blessed Mother has always been considered as the “most beautiful flower in the history of humanity” by giving us the fruit of her womb, Jesus.

Other Christian denominations often criticize the kind of honor Catholics bestow on the Blessed Virgin Mary, but not because they are against her. Rather, it’s because of their insistence on the bible alone as the basis of belief, Llasos said.

The Catholic Church relies both on Sacred Scriptures or “the word of God as it is written” and Sacred Tradition which is “the word of God preached orally.”

“Both of the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition are interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church.” Llasos said. “The Protestants do not accept the titles of the Blessed Mother, such as the Immaculate Concepcion or the Assumption, because the Pope was the one who declared them dogmas and they do not accept the authority of the Pope.”

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Llasos emphasized that the center of devotion of Catholics should be Jesus Christ. Still, the Blessed Virgin Mary occupies a “special place” in the hearts of many as Jesus’ mother.

“We have to know the nature of the Church and the Church is the mystical body of Christ since he is the head of the body. Whatever the historical Jesus did in his lifetime on earth, the mystical body continues. What we are doing is only imitating him because Marian devotion started with God,” Llasos said.

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