Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception
In February 2000, it became an approved apostolate by the Archdiocese of Manila through Jaime Cardinal Sin. It is mostly known for the Grand Marian Procession, often held just before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast of the Philippines authorised by Pope Pius XII on September 1942 through his Papal Bull Impositi Nobis.
According to early Spanish historical records Las Anales de la Catedral de Manila (English: The Annals of the Manila Cathedral), the first Marian procession held in Intramuros began on December 8, 1619 and lasted for fifteen days. Throughout the centuries of Spanish colonial rule, the practice varied between the days when the procession was held. Today, the group is specifically known for conducting yearly novena services and a Intramuros Grand Marian Procession, which is an annual public parade and floral celebration of some of the select and most prominent Marian images in the country.
The procession is intended to promote religious catechism through publicly parading images outside the Manila cathedral on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The parade is oftentimes televised by various local Filipino media television outlets, namely the ABS-CBN and GMA Networks.
In addition, the Cofradia is known for selecting only ninety of the most prominent and liturgically inspiring Marian images in the country, most notably the ones featured, as the canonically crowned images in the Philippines such as the Our Lady of La Naval de Manila and Our Lady of Manaoag. The event is often chaperoned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines who sponsors the security of the event.
In addition, a special novenario and Holy Mass is offered for the financial sponsors of each Marian image (Spanish: Hermanos y hermanas mayores) as well as the caretakers (Spanish: Camareros) of the images. In the Philippines, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has become one of the grandest Marian events in the country, highlighting its festivities well into Advent and Christmas.
The Cofradia is known in the country for administering one of the strictest rules and regulations regarding the approval of Marian images being publicly paraded in Intramuros.
Due to various illicit gay laypersons who tend to promote a revised version of a Marian image, some images are found not in liturgical harmony with the approved traditional iconography promoted by the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, only the select Marian images with the greatest public devotion are often allowed to enter into the parade.
- The Spanish word Cofradia is a loose term for either guild, association or confraternity, but the apostolate has both male and female members, both laypersons, religious sisters and sacerdotal priests.
- Throughout the year and especially in December, there are various events in the Philippines known as Grand Marian Processions, the most prominent in Manila is the one that of Intramuros.
- In the Philippines, various conflicts tend to arise among Marian caretakers or Camareros, due to a tendency to revise or abuse certain liturgical titles in transforming them from a religious icon to a pageantry symbol.