You would think I was a Bicolana when I joined the Bicolanos sing “Ama Niamo” during the Triduum of Masses, Sept. 5-8, at the Malate Church honoring Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Bicol’s patroness. With tenor Chris Añago on the organ and the Comelec Choir leading the singing, the faithful—mostly Bicolanos living in Metro Manila—sang, “Ama niamo/ na yaon ka sa langit/ sambahon ang ngaran mo… ”
The “Ama Niamo,” sung to the music of Father Obico, former parish priest of Camalig, Albay, and Everardo Napay, has a totally different melody from the Tagalog “Ama Namin”; it has a lilting melody of supplication.
The hymn was sung again on Sept. 9 at noon in Malate Church and during the High Mass officiated by Legazpi Joel Bishop Baylon at 6 p.m. at San Agustin Church.
Concelebrating with Bishop Baylon were Msgr. Joselito Asis, CBCP assistant secretary general; Fr. Ramil Tapang, SSP, vocation director of the Society of St. Paul and parochial vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish; Fr. Peter Cacino, prior of San Agustin Monastery; and Fr. Jay Aguilar of the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres.
Bishop Baylon, the chair of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, has adopted for his Episcopal motto “We fly unto their patronage, O Holy Mother!”—placing himself under the patronage of the Blessed Mother.
When I asked him why devotees always cry when they see Our Lady of Peñafrancia in a procession, Bishop Baylon explained: “They could be tears of joy or tears of hope (praying that Our Lady would help them).”
Known for her miraculous intercessions, the Peñafrancia is visited in Naga on her fiesta on the third Saturday of September, not only by Bicolanos but also by pilgrims from all over.
Fr. Alvin Paras, OFM, attests to “Ina’s” miracles. He said the Blessed Mother saved his mother, Milagros Paras, from death when the Colgante Bridge collapsed on Dec. 20, 1972. Mrs. Paras was pregnant with Father Alvin at that time. He was born on March 12, 1973.
Those who want novenas or estampitas of Our Lady of Peñafrancia can write lawyer Ed Castelo, VP of the devotees’ association (RGC Bldg., 219 Apo St., Mandaluyong City). Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. You can also fax 5326334; call 5311577; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Charito Felipe is PDA president, while Fr. Alan Dialogo is the spiritual director.
Fr. Alex Thomas, parish priest of Peñafrancia de Manila Parish in Paco, will bring devotees on a Marian pilgrimage starting Oct. 5, before proceeding to Rome for the canonization of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod on Oct. 21 on St. Peter’s Square.
The itinerary includes visits to the Church of the Miraculous Medal in Paris; shrines of Lourdes in France, and Fatima in Portugal; and the Monastery of Monserrat in the Catalonian Mountains in Spain, where the Black Madonna, believed to have been carved by St. Luke, is enshrined.
(Call Adam’s Travel at 5211691 or 5211698; text Father Alex at 0915-2278406.)
Fr. Benjie Ledesma will mark his 12th sacerdotal anniversary on Sept. 23, with a Thanksgiving Mass, 6 p.m., at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Leveriza, Malate. Main celebrant is Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle.
In the Diocese of Gumaca, Fr. Reynato Baldovino celebrated his ninth year as a priest on Sept. 8 with a Thanksgiving Mass at the Conversion of St. Paul Parish, where he is liturgist in residence. Parish priest is Fr. Jay Pagcaliwagan. Bishop of Gumaca is Msgr. Buenaventura Famadico.
Charismatic healer Fr. Diwane Cacao celebrated a healing Mass on his 60th birthday on Sept. 7 at the Sancti Dei Healing Center in Lopez Village in Los Baños, Laguna.
Parochial Handmaids of the Holy Spirit
The Parochial Handmaids of the Holy Spirit (PHHS) celebrated their 25 years of apostolate in the Philippines on Aug. 18 with a dinner-concert at the Rogationists Multi-Purpose Hall in Silang, Cavite, featuring the world-famous University of Santo Tomas Singers under the baton of Fidel Calalang of the UST Conservatory.
The PHHS is a congregation of nuns founded by Mother Guiditta Martelli (1893-1957) on April 13,1933, in Portigliola, Calabria, Italy, embracing the mission to give Christian education to poor and abandoned youth.
Mother Guiditta and other nuns took care of the children of soldiers during World War II and the victims of the big typhoon that devastated Calabria at that time.
Besides cultivating Christian values among the children, the nuns also taught the adults technical skills like tailoring for livelihood. They took care of the sick, especially the abandoned and the widows of war. The order came to the Philippines in August 1987.
Special guest in their 25th anniversary celebration was Mother Superior Rita Sgambellone, who flew in from Rome, to be with her nuns during this momentous and happy occasion.
Padre Pio rosary
In 1963, when he was 13, Gaudencio “Boy” Ponce visited San Giovanni Rotondo with his mother, and he was suddenly asked to be a sacristan for Padre Pio’s Mass.
After the Mass, Padre Pio gave him a rosary.
Padre Pio, the Franciscan stigmatist, has been canonized, and his image and the rosary he gave Ponce will be venerated at the Presentation of the Child Jesus Parish in BF Homes on Sept. 22-23 after the 6 p.m Mass.
Boy Ponce will talk about his experience with the saint.