REACH OUT IN FAITH TO GOD, THROUGH MARY
Photos L-R (Top) The Santo Rosario wearing the entire Canonical Coronation Regalia in 1907. Official Portrait taken in 1991; His Excellency, Archbishop Emeritus Edmundo M. Abaya blesses the crown of Nuestra Señora de la Luz
(Bottom); Luz shows the blessed crown outside the archbishop’s residence; Nuestra Señora de la Luz awaits her canonical coronation at the mountainside beside the Sea & Sky College Pagdaroan, City of San Fernando, La Union.
When Mary intercedes for us, she teaches us not to be frightened or grieved, or let our hearts be dismayed; to reach out in childlike faith to God by simply listening and trusting in God’s word.
Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P. who formerly served as rector of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, and chairman of the Commission on Higher Education, wrote in his article entitled “Mary” that the Filipino Nation, as one family saw the truth of the saying that goes: “The Family that prays together stays together.”
On October 5, 1907, a stage was set up in Intramuros, Manila. A multitude gathered in the place: Filipinos, Spaniards, Americans, all still smarting from the wounds of war but incredibly enough, they faced each other that day without fury and without arms. A total silence reigned over the immense crowd as the image of Mary as Queen of the Rosary was crowned. Mary had turned former foes into fellow worshippers. She had transformed the crowd into one family addressing her as “Mother”.
My twin sister, Luz, had a giant-sized statue of Nuestra Senora dela Luz made and it now rests by the mountainside beside her Sea & Sky College in San Fernando, La Union. The image holds a heart-shaped candle on her left hand and a globe on the other where one can sit on. However, it lacks a crown befitting of Mary when it was made 3 years ago, and Luz vowed to Our Lady that she will have a crown made someday. And so, early this year, Luz had a beautiful crown made. When it was finally made, Luz, like an eager child, wanted to show the crown to His Excellency, Archbishop Emeritus Edmundo M. Abaya of Nueva Segovia.
Traveling all the way from La Union, Luz greeted the Archbishop in his residence, saying that she brought Mary’s crown hoping that some inspiration or blessing would descend upon her. Indeed, that day, October 5, 2008 was just like commemorating the feast of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. While we were already outside of the archbishop’s residence ready to go home the good Archbishop instantly asked if the crown was already blessed. When we answered no, he ushered us back to his chapel. In his apostolic garb, he fervently blessed the crown.
We thank God for His great surprise and happily proceeded to the St. Paul’s Cathedral for the 5 p.m. La Naval Mass officiated by Msgr. Roque C. Reyes, parish priest of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In his homily he spoke of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary or La Naval.
The Feast was established in 1571 by St. Pius V to commemorate the naval battle of Lepanto. The victory of the Christian fleet over the Turks was attributed to the Virgin Mary, whose help was invoked through praying the Holy Rosary.
There is also the La Naval of the Philippines. During the year 1646, there were bloody naval battles between the greatly outnumbered Spanish-Catholic- Philippine forces and the Dutch Protestant marauders. The victory of the Catholics was declared as miraculous, granted by God through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and devotion to her Rosary.
These miracles have been preached and celebrated in solemn festivities for over three centuries.
After the mass, a procession of Marian images was held. We twins lined up at the back of the statue of Ina Poon Bato. Returning to the Church to receive God’s blessings, we are strengthened to be bold in seeking Mary’s intercession.
On April 4, 1906, the Dominican Provincial Superior, Fr. Santiago Paya, OP, embodied the general sentiment of the nation in his petition to the Holy Father requesting authorization for the canonical coronation of the miraculous image of the Santo Rosario. His Holiness, Pope [Saint] Pius X, granted the petition.
We pray that Our Lady under the title Nuestra Señora de la Luz will someday be canonically crowned. This will be our mass intention on October 19, 2008, the official opening of the yearlong celebration commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the La Union Consecration of the Philippines to God the Father for the People’s Earth Charter.
The Eucharistic Celebration will be officiated by Most Rev. Edmundo M. Abaya, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia and Most Rev. Artemio L. Rillera of the Diocese of La Union at 4 p.m. at the St. William’s Cathedral. It is our prayer that our sentiment for the canonical crowning of the Nuestra Señora de la Luz will find merit from our eminent bishops so that a petition will be made.
With the canonical coronation of Nuestra Señora de la Luz we hope that Filipinos will lead Asia in sharing the faith back to Europe who seemed to have forgotten the Lord. May the faith, piety and devotion of the Filipino people flourish and make Philippines a pilgrim site.