Surge of penitents at Baclaran Church

So two weeks ago my friend and I went to Baclaran Church to do a Marian pilgrimage.

Obviously not a Wednesday or a Sunday. Photo from

Obviously not a Wednesday, when even the church grounds become crowded. Photo from

The church is known for the miraculous icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the millions-strong followers that she has there. Every Wednesday devotees throng by the thousands to attend Holy Mass at the church (there’s one almost the whole day).

I could hardly contain my joy during the pilgrimage when I saw people lining up for Confession — at least 14 of them! — because that’s all the queuing space could accommodate. I remembered that about this time last year, I also went to Confession here. It was also late in the afternoon, and there was no queue; I immediately got in to the confessional.

So what happened? What’s with the sudden surge of penitents?

I did not investigate, but It was surely the work of the Holy Spirit. AND Pope Francis’ instrumentality in the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember how he unexpectedly went to Confession in public last March? That was the strongest image of repentance we’ve seen on pontifical levels.

Anyway. So I was happy seeing the mixed bunch of penitents: old and young, dainty and gruff. And every time one enters the confessional, someone else joins the tail-end of the queue. And the other churchgoers couldn’t help ogling at the queue that barred the entire side aisle (for some reason, we didn’t go parallel to the walls). Confession is going mainstream!

My friend and I went to Confession as well. Thus our Marian pilgrimage ended with Mary’s signature surprise: the joy of finding ourselves in her Son’s embrace.