ROMAN Catholic devotees in Ozamiz City are in a festive mood now that the long lost statue of Señora de Triunfo de Ozamiz has been found.
The statue was lost in 1975, and it was recently found in Makati.
The statue was placed at the altar of Virgin of the Fort when it arrived in Ozamiz in the 18th century.
Archbishop Martin Jumoad said the statue resurfaced during an auction at The Peninsula Manila Hotel.
He said the centuries-old image was bought by one JV Esposo who is willing to return it to the province.
“To JV, a lot of thanks for his kindness… he will return the image to the Archdiocese of Ozamiz. As for the people here in Ozamiz, they are happy that the 1756 image will finally return,” Jumoad said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.
He said the statue was first brought to Ozamiz in 1756, and “that’s why they (Ozamiznons) are happy.”
Jumoad said many even cried when they watched an episode about it that was aired by the television network GMA.
The prelate said the statue is expected to be brought back to Ozamiz on Dec. 8. He said there would be a procession from the airport to the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Ozamiz and finally to its original home at the Virgin of the Fort.
“From the very beginning in 1756, it was really placed at the shrine near the sea. There was a time it was brought to the cathedral. Then, later on, it was lost,” he said.
Since 1976 when it was lost, Jumoad said, people have been going to a replica, carved on the wall of the fort.
“The plan is to put it higher, to really secure it,” Jumoad said.
The altar of the Virgin of the Fort was established in 1755, where an image of the Blessed Mother is chiseled on the wall, facing the sea.
The Nuestra Señora de Triunfo or Our Lady of Triumph is believed to be miraculous by many Catholics and visited by pilgrims every 16th of July and 8th of December (Feast of Immaculate Conception).
It has also been seen as a guide to the fishermen of Panguil Bay.
The archdiocese has 43 priests, who administer 22 parishes. The province has a population of 600,000 people, 70 percent of which are Roman Catholics. (pna)