October is Holy Rosary Month, and the the biggest Marian celebration in Metro Manila will be celebrated today, Oct. 14, at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, which will mark the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval de Manila.
Santo Domingo houses the National Shrine of La Naval de Manila, whose Marian ivory icon is the oldest and biggest homegrown Catholic image in the Philippines.
Theme of the celebration is “Maria: Huwaran ng Kabanalan” (Mary, Paragon of Holiness).
Novena Masses started last Oct. 4, culminating in today’s Fiesta Masses starting at 5 a.m.
Missas Mayores today will be at 8 a.m., with Fr. Napoleon Sipalay Jr., OP, prior provincial of the Philippine Dominicans, as main celebrant; and at 3 p.m., with Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco as chief presider.
The traditional grand procession will be at 4 p.m.
La Naval de Manila commemorates the victory of the Spanish-Philippine defenders over the Protestant Dutch invaders in the 17th century.
Like the Battle of Lepanto, in which Christian Europe’s victory over the Muslim Ottoman Turks was attributed by the Dominican Pope (now Saint) Pius V to Our Lady, the Manila naval victory was attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Green Faith Travels will hold a pilgrimage on Oct. 20 to Pangasinan. It is inviting especially Marian devotees to venerate the canonically crowned images of Mary Help of Christians in Binmaley and Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag.
The image of Mary Help of Christians, a gift of the then Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Guglielmo Piani to Bishop Cesar Maria Guerrero, the first Bishop of Lingayen, was crowned last Aug. 22 in liturgical rites led by the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.
The image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag was crowned on April 22, 1926.
Pilgrims will also visit four of the country’s oldest existing stone churches, such as the Co-Cathedral of the Epiphany of the Lord in Lingayen founded in 1587, and Our Lady of the Purification Parish Church in Binmaley established in 1627.
They will also pray at the old Dagupan Cathedral, constructed in 1614, known during the Spanish colonial period as the Church of Dagupan and now called Sanctuario de San Juan Evangelista since its complete restoration and consecration in 2001, and the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, completed in 1974, and now the present seat of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan.