He is known as the “Father of Flores de Mayo,” a nationalist, a religious writer and a teacher.
The life of Fr. Mariano V. Sevilla will be celebrated on November 23, the centenary of his death, during ceremonies with the theme “Pag-ibig sa Diyos, Pag-ibig sa Bayan,” (Love for God, Love for Country).
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines will install a historical marker in his honor at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Barangay San Jose, Bulakan, the Kabesera Inc., or Samahang Pangkalinangan ng Bulakan, announced.
Called as Padre Sevilla, he was born in Tondo, Manila, on November 12, 1839, from a clan that was originally from Bulakan, Bulacan
He translated the Italian “Missa de Maggio” (Mass of May) in Tagalog, which became the guide for the devotion to the Virgin Mary for young girls of the Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion every month of May.
The offering of flowers to Mary, while chanting the dalit (short poem) that he composed, was a feature of the devotion, that later became popularly known Flores de Mayo.
A nationalist, Padre Sevilla was among the priests who espoused secularization of parishes and of the Filipinos’ civil and political rights during the last decades of the Spanish rule in the Philippines, the Kabisera Inc. said.
He was also implicated in the rebellion in Cavite and was imprisoned in January 1872.
As a result, he was exiled to Marianas Islands, then a Spanish colony, with other Filipino nationalists in March 1872.
It should be noted that Catholic priests Mariano Gómes, José Burgos and Jacinto Zamora—known as Gomburza—were executed on February 17, 1872, on charges of subversion based on the 1872 Cavite mutiny.
He was allowed to return to the country in 1874, but was imprisoned again on suspicion that he was involved in the 1896 revolution.
Padre Sevilla graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Santo Tomas.
Ordained as priest in 1863, he served as parish priest in several municipalities in Bulacan province.
He founded the organization Hijas de Maria (Daughters of Mary), which later became Hijas y Caballeros de Maria (Daughters and Sons of Mary) in Bulakan which organized the yearly tradition of Flores de Mayo.
He also authored several devotional materials in Tagalog. As an educator, Padre Sevilla taught at Real Colegio de San Jose and founded Colegio de la Sagrada Familia. He co-founded the Instituto de Mujeres in 1900.
To recognize his religious accomplishments, Padre Sevilla was awarded the “Prelado Domestico [Domestic Prelate]”—that is given to a priest having permanent honorary membership in the papal household—by Pope Benedict XV in 1920.
It was “in acknowledgement of his loyalty and service to the Catholic Church,” the Kabesera Inc. said in Filipino.
Padre Sevilla died on November 23, 1923. He was laid to rest in the Catholic Cemetery in Bulakan.