30,000 pilgrims troop to Divine Mercy Shrine

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

EL SALVADOR CITY – Officials at the Divine Mercy Shrine are making final security check for an estimated 30,000 pilgrims from different parts of Mindanao on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

“We have already made our preparation based on the experience from the previous year. We expect the number of people to rise this Good Friday at around 30,000. Annually we have seen the increase of people coming into the shrine and the need for a tighter security is seen more than ever,” said Lorna Llanos, Divine Mercy Foundation coordinator.

Llanos pointed out that they have already made final preparations and coordination with the stakeholders to improve the security measure in the shrine.


“We’ve coordinated with the city government, barangay police as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help us with our security. Medical teams will be deployed and volunteer groups such as the Divine Heart Community will be providing us additional manpower to help maintain peace and order,” said Llanos.

Oliver Malinao, who is working at the Divine Mercy Shrine, revealed that the number of people can shift in an instant.

Pilgrims at Divine Mercy Shrine
CAGAYAN DE ORO. Pilgrims slowly climb down the 80 steps stairs after paying a short visit and reciting prayers at the heart of the giant replica image Jesus Christ at the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental on April 16. Numbers of pilgrims and devotees are expected to rise at around 30,000 by Good Friday. (Erwin M. Mascariñas)

“We expect thousands to arrive by the afternoon of Holy Thursday to attend the evening mass of the Lord's Supper and then a large portion of the people will be staying overnight for the prayer vigil until the morning of Good Friday. People will come and go, then new batches will arrive and just last year we estimated a total of those who visited the shrine to be around 20,000,” said Malinao.

Kimberly Casiño de Alban, one of the pilgrims who visited the shrine on Wednesday afternoon, expected the number of people to swell.

“I’m here with my family and friends who traveled from Marilao in Bulacan, this is actually just an initial visit after arriving from the airport, we will be back tomorrow for a more solemn prayerful moment. I am actually from the town of Villanueva but I’ve been working as a teacher in Bulacan for several years now,” said de Alban.

Pilgrims fill container with holy water
CAGAYAN DE ORO. Pilgrims fill their containers with what they believe as holy water as part of their visit at the Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental on April 16. Numbers of pilgrims and devotees are expected to rise at around 30,000 by Good Friday. (Erwin M. Mascariñas)

De Alban said that every year she would always commemorate the Holy Week at the Divine Mercy Shrine.

“Each year I come back to Misamis Oriental, I make sure to be here at the shrine. For me this is a place of prayer and worship since it is very peaceful and there is something to the holiness of the place that draws me back. I’m sure it is also the reason why thousands visit here every year,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 17, 2014.

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