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Atocha joins Sto. Niño procession today; Candelaria fiesta on Feb. 2; Philippine Augustinian province turns 30

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On Feb. 2, the Catholic Church will celebrate one of its great feasts—the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. It is also the day when the Church celebrates the feast of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria (Our Lady of the Candle) as Mary bore Jesus, the Light of the World, in her womb.

The people of Jaro, Iloilo are blessed to have a miraculous image of La Candelaria in their church. It is enshrined inside a virina that one can reach by climbing up the steps to the sanctuary in front of the church. Miracles have been attributed to the image.

Those who cannot go to Jaro can attend the fiesta celebration at the Presentation of the Child Parish in BF Homes, Parañaque (on Aguirre Street) with a concelebrated Mass to be officiated by Bishop Jesse Mercado with Fr. Rodel Paulino, parish priest, and priests from the Diocese of Parañaque.

Another church that has an image of the Candelaria is San Fernando de Dilao (Paco church) on Paz Street in Paco.

Sto. Niño de Atocha

When Ben Farrales and Nolie Hans made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico many years ago, they also visited the shrine of Santo Niño de Atocha in Fresnillo, Mexico.

A replica of the image will join the 35th procession of Congregacion del Santisimo Nombre del Niño Jesus at 3 p.m. to the Quirino Grandstand. The carroza bearing the image is No. 25.

Portrayed as a small Spanish pilgrim boy, the image of the Child Jesus known as Santo Niño de Atocha is dressed in a long gown with a cape that has a wide lace collar and frilled cuffs. The traditional symbol of a pilgrim, a cockleshell, is on his cape, and he holds a little basket in his left hand and a water gourd suspended from a staff in his right hand. The little holy boy wears buckled sandals (huaraches) of silver, and a large, floppy hat with a feather. Although he is known as a wanderer, he is usually shown seated on a little chair.

Atocha in Madrid

During the Moorish occupation of Spain, many men were imprisoned in Atocha prison in Madrid because of their faith. The prisoners were not fed by their jailers, so food was taken to them by their families. At one time, the Caliph issued an order that no one, except children 12 years old and younger, would be permitted to bring food to the prisoners. Those with young children would manage to keep their relatives alive, but what of the others?

The women of the town appealed to Our Lady of Atocha, begging her to help them find a way to feed their husbands, sons and brothers. Soon the children came home from the prison with a strange story. Those prisoners who had no young children to feed them were being visited and fed by a young boy. None of the children knew who he was, but the little water gourd he carried was never empty, and there was always plenty of bread in his basket to feed all the hapless prisoners without children of their own to bring them their food.

A young boy came at night, slipping past the sleeping guards or smiling politely at those who were alert. Those who had asked the Virgin of Atocha for a miracle began to suspect the identity of the little boy who has become worldwide as the Santo Niño de Atocha.

When the Spaniards came to the New World, they brought along the devotions of their native regions. Those from Madrid naturally brought their devotion to Our Lady of the Atocha and the Child Jesus.

‘Emerald’ dancing girls

Holy Ghost College/College of the Holy Spirit will celebrate its centenary closing ceremony with a homecoming on Feb. 2 at the Mendiola campus.

The centenary thanksgiving Mass will be officiated at 2 p.m. at the Paraclete Auditorium by San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David. It will be followed by the One Brighter World program to be presented by the jubilarians.

Emerald (1955) jubilarians will dance to the music of Katy Perry’s “Firework” choreographed by Mickey Perz depicting the “Spirit of Truth”: Mila Dolores, Lita Asis-Sambrano, Carol Gungon-Diangco, Lina Cruz-Munoz, Bunny Suzara-German, Jopay Nunez-Oliveros, Baby Garcia-Bautista, Marlene Morales-Isungga, Ley dela Rosa-Alandy Dy, Tina Anzures-Castaneda and Marlene Navarro.

Augustinian province is 30 years old

With joy and thanksgiving, the Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu-Philippines, whose mother province—the Spanish Augustinians—had pioneered the evangelization of the Philippines,  celebrated its 30th anniversary of inauguration as an Augustinian Province on Jan 15.

The theme of the celebration was  Filipino Augustinians @ 30: Living in Community, Serving God in Freedom under Grace.”

It is the Augustinians who have promoted the devotion to the Santo Niño de Jesus. In fact the Santo Niño de Cebu feast was celebrated with a beautiful solemn procession on Jan. 18, led by the Augustinians of Basilica Minore de Santo Niño de Cebu.

Jan. 19 was the Niño’s feast and, in  Sinulog tradition, devotees gloriously danced to the Child Jesus while shouting “Pit Senyor!”  (a shortened prayer of  “Isangpit sa Señor,” meaning  “Call on the King! Cry out to the King! Pray to the King!”).

‘Dalaw Soledad’

The Congregacion de Nuestra Señora de Soledad de Porta Vaga is ready to accept requests for the visit of the miraculous icon to parishes, offices, communities. Please text Ryan Enriquez, 0918-9283408, or Marc Dalma, 0917-7081279. Fr. Virgilio Saenz Mendoza is the spiritual director.

Marian Movement of Priests

The new office of Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) in the Philippines will be blessed Jan. 29, Wednesday, at San Isidro Labrador Parish on Taft Avenue, Pasay City. Cardinal Tagle will celebrate the Mass at 9 a.m. with Msgr. Cesar Pagulayan. Registration is at 7 a.m., Cenacle at 7:30 a.m., and blessing at 10 a.m.


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