Starting Aug. 2, the Most Holy Redeemer Church in Malac Street in Masambong, Quezon City, will once again be crowded with devotees of St. Philomena for the Novena Mass at 6 p.m.
Tarlac Bishop Florentino Cinenze will be main celebrant; parish priest Fr. Clod V. Bagabaldo is co-celebrant. Theme of the feast is “St. Philomena, faithful and obedient to the Roman Catholic Church.” Bishops invited to celebrate the Novena Masses will explain her virtues of fidelity and obedience.
The Most Holy Redeemer Church is also the Santuario de Santa Philomena. When Fr. Jojo Zerrudo was parish priest, he began the devotion to the saint by placing a three-foot image at the left of the altar. I remember him telling me that he was inspired by the devotion of St. John Marie Vianney to St. Philomena.
Other celebrants are Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Infanta (Aug. 3), Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig (Aug. 4), Archbishop Emeritus Pedro Dean of Palo (Aug. 5), Bishop Antonieto Cabajog of Surigao (Aug. 6), Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued (Aug. 7), Bishop Filomeno Bactol of Naval (Aug. 8), Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. of Caloocan (Aug. 9) and Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc of Kalibo (Aug. 10). On Aug. 5, there will be a caracol procession at 3:30 p.m.
On fiesta day, Aug. 11, there will be Masses at 6 a.m. with Msgr. Sabino Vengco as celebrant; at 9 a.m., Fr. Eli Mata, SVD; at 4 p.m., Fr. Orlando Aceron, OP; and 6:30 p.m., Fr. Michell Joe B. Zerrudo. Solemn procession follows at 7:30 p.m.
Highlight is the noon Mass by Bishop Gilbert A. Garcera of Daet. There will be anointing of the Holy Oil and veneration of the Holy Relic of St. Philomena after each Mass.
Fathers Aceron and Zerrudo are spiritual directors of the Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena at 430 Mayon St., QC. Those who want to join the devotion may contact 0918-5470605 or 3651011.
Scapular of Our Lady of Mercy
Churches all over the world dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy), especially in Barcelona, Spain, will celebrate the 794th anniversary of the giving of the scapular by the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Peter Nolasco on Aug. 2, 1218. The Blessed Virgin Mary also appeared in separate visions on the same night to St. Raymond of Peñafort, a Spanish Dominican, and to King James I of Aragon, Spain.
Our Lady’s request was for the establishment of an order for the ransoming of Christian slaves. King James insisted that the shield of Aragon be placed on the scapular. The opposite side bears the “A” & “M” for the Ave Maria. Today, the Scapular of Mercy is used for the ransoming and redeeming of souls from the devil.
Dr. Alvin Balatbat, who saw a similar scapular in the religious store at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, had it copied by the inmates of the Women’s Correctional and distributed to sick people for healing.
A Constitution of Urban IV issued on March 25, 1263, decreed that those wearing the scapular will be granted many graces and indulgences.
Our Lady of Ransom Parish
In August 1956, Fr. Cesar Quiambao, who visited the church in Barangay Matalaib in Tarlac City, was carrying a statue of Our Lady of Mercy without knowing that the church was dedicated to Our Lady of Ransom, the other name for Our Lady of Mercy. The devotion to the Virgin Mary under this title is becoming popular among Filipinos, especially in Barangay Bahay Pare in Candaba, Pampanga.
Recently, Dr. Balatbat donated a three-foot statue to the Chapel of Our Lady of Fatima in Barangay Tagapo in Santa Rosa, Laguna, at the request of a devotee, Chris Arciago. The patroness of the town is Sta. Rosa de Lima of Peru. The national patroness of Peru is Nuestra Señora de la Merced and the people observe a national holiday on Sept. 24, her fiesta.
St. James the Apostle feast
Bangued Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian will officiate the Concelebrated Mass honoring St. James the Apostle on July 25, 6 a.m., at the Cathedral of St. James in Bangued.
At 2:30 p.m., Bishop Jaucian will ordain three deacons at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Bangued: Rev. Allan Flores of the UST Central Seminary, and Rev. David Mark Tavernes and Rev. Jeffrey Bueno of the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Bishop Jaucian, CBCP national coordinator for Chinese apostolate, will be the chaplain of pilgrims from Cebu going to Rome for the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on Oct. 21. He is fluent in Fookien and Mandarin. Bishop Jaucian is the spiritual director of the Federation of Catholic Filipino-Chinese Women.
St. James in Dapitan
The feast of St. James the Apostle is also marked in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, where Dalisay Empenado Jao used to bring us to dance in front of the image of St. James borne on a horse in the plaza. We waved leaves as we took a step forward and another step back to the tune of the drums. My friend Ali Rich Garcia and I whispered prayers as we did so. Our prayers were answered.
I encourage my readers to be devoted to St. James the Apostle, who is called “Santiago de Compostela” in Spain or “James of the Stars.”
I developed a devotion to him in July 1997 when travel agent Sally Maddatu brought me and other pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Those who are taking a Marian pilgrimage should request for a trip to Santiago de Compostela as part of the itinerary.
Today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. She is also an efficacious intercessor. In Pateros, Rizal, Fr. Roy Rosales will lead the celebration of the fiesta of Sta. Martha on July 29 in the Church of San Roque. Those who cannot go to Pateros can visit the Sta. Martha Chapel in Harrison Plaza, Malate. Masses are at 10:30 a.m., 12 noon, and 4, 5, 6 and 7 p.m.
The feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim is celebrated on July 26 by the people of Sta. Ana in Manila. The late Albert Seeland taught us to pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be every Tuesday morning and say “St. Anne, St. Joachim, please grant me a pleasant surprise today.”
Fr. Rannie Aquino, who teaches at the San Pablo Regional Seminary in Baguio City, told me that he needs a donation of a “clavinova” for the seminary chapel.
A musical director of the “Coro San Jacinto” in Tuguegarao, Father Rannie also helps the choir of the seminary. A clavinova can be played both as an organ or a piano.