Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Divine Providence with the Puerto Rican community on Nov. 21 at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights. Among the concelebrants were Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros and Father Freddy Cintron, who coordinates ministry among Puerto Ricans.
Devotion to Our Lady of Divine Providence originated in Italy in the 13th century. It was a widespread and popular devotion, which later came to Spain, where a shrine was built in Tarragona, Catalonia. In the 19th century, when Gil Esteve Tomas was appointed Bishop of Puerto Rico and Catalan, he brought along this devotion. He put his new diocese in the hands of Divine Providence when he found the cathedral in ruins and the economy in worse conditions. The confidence of the bishop and his work bore fruit quickly and before five years passed, he was able to rebuild the cathedral church, and establish worship and devotion to Our Lady of Divine Providence.
An image commissioned by Don Gil Esteve was carved in Barcelona and venerated in the cathedral for 67 years. In 1920, it was replaced by another statue made of wood, which is the image of Our Lady of Divine Providence most familiar and known by the Puerto Rican community.