Cofradia del Carmen Revived


Last September 8,2021 Fray Joseph Cyprian J. Panaligan, OAR welcomed 31 new members into the Cofradia del Carmen. The event signifies the revival of the confraternity.

It was in 1756 that the Cofradia del Carmen in Cebu was canonically established through Fray Jose Andres de la Santisima Trinidad, who wrote a formal letter to the Archdiocese of Manila. It was then called as “Cofradia de la Virgen del Carmen”. The confraternity has been a great promoter of the Carmel devotion in the Visayas that rarely was there anyone who did not wear a brown scapular during that time because of their influence. They also funded the celebration during the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, even rivaling in grandeur other celebrations in Cebu City. Unfortunately, in 1865 the confraternity was dissolved due to the royal decree mandating all confraternities to have a royal permit for their establishment.[1] Since then, members of the confraternity gradually dwindled but after a century the Cofradia del Carmen continues to survive. It is a testament that the confraternity is under the mantle of protection of our Lady.

Today, the Cofradia del Carmen regains its canonical status when the Archdiocese of Cebu granted them the Decree of Recognition,  elevating the Cofradia del Carmen from a parish organization to a recognized catholic lay organization within the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Indeed, the Decree is an honor for all the members of the Cofradia del Carmen, but it brings new challenges in their devotion to Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia. After months of formation, the Rite of Enrollment into the Cofradia del Carmen was celebrated at the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Recoletos. Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan, OAR received their pledge of commitment into the confraternity in front of the image of our Lady.  Each candidate was imposed with the scapular of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia which bears the sign of the Carmelite Order on one side and a blooming flower on the other symbolizing Mary as the Flower of Carmel.  They are the first batch to be fully enrolled into the Cofradia del Carmen.

[1] History of the Augustinian Recollects in Cebu since 1621: Studies and Sources, Emmanuel Romanillos, USJ-R (2021)

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Joseph Cyprian Panaligan OAR

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