The Blessed Virgin Mary is the icon of this event. This young woman of Hebrew origin was chosen by the Most High from all eternity to be the Mother of God, being venerated by all of Christendom as a supreme model of holiness.
All of us have to turn our gaze towards Her, which leads us to Jesus Christ. Wishing in His supreme goodness and wisdom to effect the redemption of the world, “when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman…that we might receive the adoption of sons”.(283) “He for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary.” This divine mystery of salvation is revealed to us and continued in the Church, which the Lord established as His body. Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory “of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ”. (LG 52)
In order to enter into the plans of God, it is therefore necessary to have an intimate devotion to Mary. She will lead us to Jesus and trace in our souls what is necessary to become more and more like Jesus.
St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort suggests this truth by arguing that Mary is the easiest, shortest, most perfect and safest way to reach Jesus Christ.
Easy way: it is the path that Jesus Christ has opened coming to us and in which there is no obstacle to reach Him.
Short way: because no one goes astray because he walks with more joy and ease and, therefore, more quickly. It is in Mary’s womb that young people become elders by light, by holiness, by experience and by wisdom, arriving in a few years to the fullness of age in Jesus Christ.
Perfect way: for Mary is the most holy and the most perfect of all creatures, and Jesus Christ, who has come in the most perfect way to us, has not taken another path in such a great and admirable journey.
Safe path: because the office of Mary is to lead us safely to her Son, just as Jesus Christ is to take us safely to his Eternal Father. The sweet Mother of Jesus always repeats to her true devotees the words she spoke at the wedding at Cana, showing us all the way that leads to Jesus: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2,5).
The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary was in a side chapel of the Cathedral of Seville-Spain. This Cathedral was rebuilt in the 14th century, but only the wall where the image was kept was conserved, and it was called Santa María de la Antigua. In honor of this dedication Enciso and Balboa founded in 1510 the city of Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien, fulfilling a promise because they won the battle, and dedicated to Santa María La Antigua the house of Cacique Cémaco; this was the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the mainland.
The city of Santa Maria de la Antigua was the see of the first Diocese in American mainland created by Pope Leo X with bull of September 9, 1513. In 1524 the second Bishop Fray Vicente Peraza moved the see of this Diocese to the newly founded Panama City.
The city was burned down in 1671 and rebuilt next to the town of Ancon in 1673. The Patroness of the Cathedral and the Diocese of Panama was from 1513 Santa María La Antigua.
PROCLAMATION AS PATRONESS OF PANAMA
On September 9, 2000, Holy Jubilee Year, the Panamanian Episcopal Conference officially proclaimed Santa María La Antigua as Patroness of the Republic of Panama.
On February 27, 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by virtue of the faculties granted by the Supreme Pontiff St. John Paul II, welcomes the request raised by José D. Cedeño D., Archbishop of Panama , and confirms Santa María La Antigua as Patroness before God of the Republic of Panama, with all the liturgical rights and privileges as indicated in the canonical norms.
His Solemn Feast is celebrated on September 9.
In the Archdiocese of Panama Mons. José Dimas Cedeño, Archbishop of Panama at the time, officially proclaimed the Blessed and Ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother, Patroness of the Archdiocese of Panama, under the title of Santa María la Antigua, first Marian advocation arrived in these isthmus lands.
This was on September 9, 1999, on the 486th anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Santa Maria La Antigua.
According to the instruction of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship of March 19, 1973 in No. 7, “it corresponds to the Diocesan Bishop to approve the election of the Patron or Patroness of the Diocese entrusted to him”.
On September 9, 1513 Pope Leo X through the Bull “Pastoralis Officii Debitum” created the Diocese of Santa Maria La Antigua with headquarters in the town of the same name by raising its Chapel to the rank of Cathedral and perpetually assigning as titular the Most Holy Mother of God under this same invocation.