MANILA. A message from Our Lady of Medjugorge spoke of the Philippines to become the "global spiritual center." Will this become a reality soon?
The Philippines, the only Catholic nation in Asia, has a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Last January 7, two thousand people watched the groundbreaking of the Shrine of Montemaria dedicated to "Mary Mother of the Poor" at the Southern part of Batangas City Bay area facing the famous Verde Island.
The statue of the Shrine of Montemaria will be 102 meters high - higher than New York City's Statue of Liberty (96 meters high) and Rio de Janeiro has Statue of Jesus (100 meters high).
The pilgrimage site is five-hectares of land (donated by Batangas tycoon) whose development will cost P8 billion funded from donations of Filipinos - P200 million of which is already deposited in a bank.
The pilgrim site which can accommodate as much as 2,000 pilgrims will honor the massive shrine together with a Montemaria oratory of the Blessed Virgin, a cathedral-like complex to be built along the slope of the mountain. In the complex will be a Rosary Garden, Way of the cross, Eucharistic and Adoration Chapel, St. Joseph Chapel, Divine Mercy Chapel, colambarium and retreat houses for pilgrims.
The humongous statue of the Blessed Virgin can be seen from the ships passing through a major shipping lane called "Verde Strait" where as many as 200 ships pass daily. The Verde Island, known for its biodiversity of aquatic species is part of the "Sulawesi Triangle extending from Batangas to Borneo in the West and Celebes in the South.
The "Sulawesi Triangle" a 300,000 square kilometer area is the "richest in marine biodiversity in the world."