This year’s feast of La Naval de Manila is intended to remind the faithful that devotion should lead to social action, said the new rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Quezon City.
Themed “Inang Maria: Kalakbay sa Pagharap sa Hamon ng Karalitaan at Kabanalan” (Mary: Companion in Facing the Challenge of Poverty and Holiness), the celebrations accord with Church’s intentions for the Year of the Poor in the Philippines and the Year of Consecrated Life in the Church.
According to Fr. Roland Mactal, OP, who was installed as prior of the Santo Domingo Convent and shrine rector last Sept. 15, no true devotee can be blind not to see and feel for the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, and the homeless.
“The genuine devotion to Mary and to the Holy Rosary leads us to Jesus, who is present among the poor,” he said. “La Naval festivities must also lead and move us to pursue a just and humane society. We must reach out to the least, last and lost of the society.”
The 2015 La Naval festivities started on Oct. 1 with the traditional enthronement of the canonically crowned Marian image. Novena Masses are held at 5:30 p.m. in Sto Domingo every day until Oct. 10. Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco will preside the main Mass on Oct. 11, Sunday, 8 a.m.
To hold the Novena Masses are Bishop Broderick Pabillo; Fr. Peter Casiño, OSA; Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD, Fr. Cielito Almazan, OFM; Fr. Joseph Matitu, SSS; Fr. Venerando Dumas Agner, CM; Fr. Christian Buenafe, O.Carm.; Fr. Rolando Fernandez, MI; and Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, OP.
The devotion to La Naval traces back to almost four centuries ago, when Filipino-Spanish troops miraculously emerged as victors in a series of naval battles in 1646 against the formidable Dutch armada. This event was attributed to the intercessions of the Holy Mother, whom the victors of the war vowed to honor with a yearly religious procession on barefoot.
Father Mactal, who was the chaplain of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan before transferring to the Santo Domingo Convent, underscored as well that those who have religious vows, such as priests, must be able to lead the faithful in attending to the poor. La Naval’s feast is also a reminder for them, he said.
“Being poor is closely related to the vowed life, especially to our vow of poverty,” he said. “This is our commitment to be active witnesses, especially in these challenging times.”
At present, the shrine facilitates “Marian visitations,” in which an image of La Naval is brought to different places in Quezon City. This is an initiative to promote Marian devotion to people from all walks of life. Aside from this, a Perpetual Novena in honor of La Naval, which is followed by a Mass, is held every Saturday, 11:45 a.m. at the historic Santo Domingo Church.
In 2016, the Order of Preachers, also called Dominicans, will celebrate of its 800th anniversary.
This jubilee year will be formally opened on Nov. 7, worldwide. In the country, the year will commence with the opening of the jubilee door at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City.
To prepare for jubilee year, the Dominican Family will have a grand retreat to be held at the University of Santo Tomas Pavilion, Oct. 12-14.