What do Leyte representative Lucy Torres Gomez, comedienne Ai Ai de las Alas, and veteran talk show host Boy Abunda all have in common with our dear Lolo Kiko? These celebrities are devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary!
“Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life,” said Pope Francis during New Year’s Day Mass at the Vatican in 2018. “Mary is exactly what God wants us to be, what he wants His Church to be: a Mother who is tender and lowly, poor in material goods and rich in love, free of sin and united to Jesus, keeping God in our hearts and our neighbors in our lives.”
Read on to learn how these three Pinoy personalities share the Pope’s devotion to Mama Mary:
Lucy Torres Gomez
The TV host, commercial model, wife to actor Richard Gomez, and mother to their teenage daughter Juliana is also a public servant who recently won her reelection bid as representative of the fourth district of her native Leyte.
In May 2010, this Marian devotee marked the start of her first term in a special way. “I am happy that my first official engagement as congresswoman-elect is to open the Marian exhibit,” she said during the launch of a display of over 20 heirloom statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Ormoc Centrum Mall.
Growing up, Lucy recalls her mother telling her and her sister Carmen Jean to make the Wednesday devotion a habit so they would find good husbands. Their prayers were answered: Carmen Jean is happily married to Vincent Rama, and Lucy and Richard have been together for 21 years.
Ai Ai de las Alas
There’s good reason why the comedienne pulls out all the stops and throws a party every feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8.
“Marian devotee ako,” she said in a story for Pep.ph. “Ang daming mga intercession ni Mama Mary sa akin na mga hinihingi ko na ibinibigay ng Diyos. Kaya thanksgiving ito sa lahat ng mga blessings na natatanggap ko mula kay God sa pamamagitan ng Mahal na Ina.”
Put up for adoption by her biological mother, Ai Ai was afraid of her adoptive mom. Deprived of a mother’s love, she took to unburdening her sorrows and problems to Blessed Virgin. “Bata pa ako, devotee na ako ng Mother of Perpetual Help sa Baclaran,” she said.
Years ago, Ai Ai made an emotional plea for comfort and guidance at the Manaoag Church. I don’t know how you plan to do it, she prayed to Mary in between sobs, but if you can hear me, give me a hug so I know someone cares for me. Suddenly, the church’s priest came up to her and gave her a reassuring embrace. “I love you, Ai,” he said, although the two had never met.
The story still gives her goose bumps!
Why did the veteran talk show host and native of Borongan, Eastern Samar, buy a modest property, sight unseen, in the outskirts of Lipa, Batangas, back in the 1990s? Boy chalked it up to his being a probinsyano at heart. Close enough to the city yet far enough from Manila’s madding crowd, Lipa was where he built a cozy rest house he could escape to for much needed rest and recharging.
The rest house was where Boy’s Nanay Lesing stayed to recover from an illness in 1991. Keeping her company while her son worked in Manila was a grotto of the Mediatrix and his two precious Sto. Niños. Whenever he’d visit, Boy would take Nanay Lesing to the Mt. Carmel Church, site of a miraculous shower of flowers on January 24, 1991, as well as the multiple apparitions of Mary to Sr. Teresita Castillo in September 1948. “There we would pray, pray, pray,” he wrote in his column for the Philippine Star.
“After a few months, Nanay was fully recovered,” says Boy. “She was fully healed of acute Vitamin B12 deficiency, which could have led to something really worse had it not been arrested by prayers and UST’s brilliant doctors.”
“At this time, I was told the Catholic Church has not officially acknowledged the Marian apparition at the Church of Mt. Carmel,” he continued. “I didn’t care. I believe in the apparition. I am and still am a devotee. Nanay and I continue to visit the church to this day.”