|Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro de Binondo|
In the historic Binondo Church in Manila – the temple of the One True God nestled within the historic Chinese community – is the home of some notable devotions of our ancestors from the famed Santo Cristo de Longos, Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario, the fabled Nuestra Señora de la Soterraña (now in the hands of a prominent political family) and the mother church of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Venerable Ignacia del Espiritu Santo. It was on this Church that another famed Marian icon is also enshrined in this church – the petite yet miraculous icon of Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro de Binondo.
The petite icon have caused much miracles to her devotees over the centuries and also gained a popularity among Manileños during the Spanish era, the Pre-War and Post War eras yet it also suffered a period of oblivion when it was kept for decades within the hidden premises of the church for some unknown reasons until its re-enthronement in 2014.
|The icon in her present altar in Binondo Church|
The tiny painted icon is framed inside an intricately designed frame measuring 20 cm. tall and 38.1 cm. wide. Adorning the mantle and tunic of celestial virgin are small pearls and tiny gold stars. At her feet is a half-moon made of the same sheet of silver metal. Around the image is an oval arch of 12 golden stars. Two large ones at the lower part and four smaller pairs towards the top. The Holy Infant holds a golden globe crowned with a cross of the same precious metal. Both Mother and Child wear crowns of gold which are superimposed on the painting: for the half-moon at her feet, a chain of gold and pearls goes all around the border of the image described.
The title of Pronto Socorro was given to the icon due to the fact of immediate responses to the supplications of her devotees and as attested to some surviving accounts of the image where alms were made under this particular title of the Virgin.
|The Icon in her old regalia|
History of the Icon
The earliest record of the icon dates back in 1731 where an inventory of the image was duly recorded where her icon was framed in gilded silver filigree, surmounted by angels and the figure of the Holy Spirit in silver.
According to the records, the Pronto Socorro icon was enthroned at the Church of the Holy Kings in 1588, a year after the Dominicans came making it one of the oldest venerated Marian image in the Philippines. The church was situated on the site that used to between the hanging bridge (Fuente Colgante) and the military hospital, later in 1598, it was transferred to San Gabriel Church in 1598 where it gained popularity. It was transferred to the Santisimo Rosario Church after the San Gabriel Church was destroyed by an earthquake in June 1863.
For years, the image remained unscathed during the Philippine Revolution, the Fil-Am War and was miraculously spared during the destructive Second World War where the image was immediately taken away for safety. For sometime it was kept in a private area of Binondo Church for unknown reasons until it was re-enthroned in her own altar on September 8, 2014 with much delight of her old and new devotees.
In olden times when the image was in her own church, the church of St. Gabriel, the faithful come to invoke her help and protection frequently, to obtain from her “Pronto Socorro”, from the ills and necessities, Our Lady graciously answered their prayers promptly thereby earning the name of title which she came to be known.
Her feast day was changed over the centuries first on the Second Sunday of November, the Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady then later moved to Last Sunday of May.
Her immediate help reminds us that she is truly a Mother to us all. Knowing our spiritual needs and even the temporal needs which are connected with our salvation, Mary is obviously impelled by her great charity to intercede for us. If a mother but suspects that her child needs her help she flies to its side. There is no question here of Mary’s acquiring new merits in heaven but simply of her obtaining that her merits—and her Son’s—be applied to us at the appropriate moment.