El Salvador, not the Latin American country, but the small city in the province of Misamis Oriental here in Mindanao is the home the 50 foot Statue of the Divine Mercy that is said to be tallest of its kind not only in this predominantly Catholic country of the Philippines but in the whole world. The city serves as a pilgrimage site for the many Divine Mercy devotees, thus, earned the title as “The City of Mercy” or “City of The Savior”. During the last two visits I had to my relatives in Cagayan De Oro City, I made it a point to visit the holy grounds of Divine Mercy Shrine.
My aunties and uncles residing in Cagayan De Oro are all Divine Mercy devotees. Part of their devotion is to visit the shrine regularly as it is just 30 minutes drive from their homes. Whenever they have visitors staying for couple of days, bringing them too to Divine Mercy Shrine in El Salvador became customary to them. That’s the reason why I came to see the Shrine for two times.
It was Lenten Season when they first brought me to the Divine Mercy Shrine. It was Black Saturday to exact. While we were on our way to the shrine hills, I was actually clueless how it looked like. I thought it was just the usual shrine I have visited in the past. To my surprise, it was way too different from what I thought. The tall and huge statue of Jesus Christ was visible from highway peeping from the green vegetation surrounding the hill. “Gigantic!” I exclaimed in sheer amazement.
As we entered the holy ground, it was the back of towering statue of the Divine Mercy that immediately struck me. It seemed to possess an enigmatic pull wanting me to immediately come closer. As we headed to main grounds, my cousins told me I should wear a blue cloth provided by the shrine administrators to cover my legs since wearing of shorts and other revealing clothing is prohibited in the pilgrimage site. After doing so, we proceeded in front of the towering statue of Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy.
When I finally stood in front of the 50-foot statue of Jesus, an inner peace rapidly hit me. Silence enveloped the whole place. I felt I was in front of my God, so huge and strong, and there I was standing in front of Him so humbled knowing I was so small. For a moment, I glued myself to where I stood marveling at the world’s tallest statue of Divine Mercy. It was just marvelous.
Adding the serene surrounds of the Shrine were the perfectly manicured flower garden and landscape that seemed to blend the sacredness of the Pilgrimage Site. Being situated on a hill 500 feet above sea level, the shrine looks out to the waters of Macalajar Bay – a spectacular view that add more reason to appreciate the Divine Mercy Hill.
Just like my relatives in this side of Mindanao, the Shrine is frequented by many people from different parts of the country and some travel far from across the globe, Divine Mercy devotees and alike. Faithful come by the thousand everyday not just to marvel at the 50-foot statue and to see the spectacular view around but to pray in this holy ground. For those firm devotees like my Aunties and Uncles, the Divine Mercy Shine of El Salvador is a miraculous center of healing bringing the Lord’s Divine Mercy to them deepening their devotion and renewed faith.
As for a traveler like me, visiting Divine Mercy Shrine is like putting a momentary stop on all my journeys to take a moment of silence to reflect and pray. This sacred site offers the best place to commune with our Creator.
I know I’ll be going back to Cagayan de Oro City to see my cousins again and for sure they’ll take me over to El Salvador’s Divine Mercy Shrine just like my two previous visits. This time I’ll look forward to staying there longer and perhaps make another kind of worthy travel – a spiritual journey with my Creator.
I would like to thank my Fernandez Family in Cagayan de Oro City for being so hospitable, as always, whenever I go there for a quick visit. Guys, your generosity and warmth give me all the reason to visit you there more often. Above all, you always make me feel I have a great family in you – malayo man, malapit din. See you soon guys!