Hundreds attended last night’s celebration of the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Cotta of Cebu also known as Our Lady of the Fort and Our Lady of Remedies.
Msgr. Carlito Puno celebrated Mass at 6 p.m. followed by a 20 minute procession of the Marian image considered the patroness of Fort San Pedro, the oldest stone fort in the country.
This year was the first time the image of Mary carrying the child Jesus in her arms was brought outside the Fort passing around the Plaza Independencia, said Erwin dela Cerna, executive director of the fort.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama attended the third annual feast.
The original religious image was found floating in a well in the Spanish fort when it was under construction in the 16th century. Its water was said to have provided a cure to ailments of devotees who prayed to the Virgin and drank the water.
In a 1904 book about images of the Virgin Mary venerated in the Philippines, it was written that the Virgin of the Fort was the oldest Cebuano Marian devotion dating back to 1570 to 1575 when the image was found, said Louie Nacorda, a Cebuano devotee and iconographer. The image is of European style, with details and clothes carved.
Nacorda said Mayor Rama, on behalf of Cebu City, accepted a donation of a replica Marian image and shrine in 2010 to be erected in the fort to revive the Cebuano Marian devotion.
The oratory adds a “spiritual ambience” to the historic fort, a popular tourist attraction in Cebu, he said. / Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent