For Catholics worldwide, the month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. It is one of the major Marian feast days particularly for devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary and believers of the significance and powers of the Holy Rosary.
The feast day of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag likewise falls in October and is consistently celebrated by Filipino migrants throughout the United States, particularly the natives of Manaoag, Pangasinan, a town which is about more than 100 miles north of Manila.
The original image of Our Lady of Manaoag is currently enshrined at the Church of Our Lady of Manaoag, where throngs of devotees and pilgrims visit every day.
It is reported that the image of Our Lady has performed miracles based on various testimonies inscribed at the said church’ murals and accounts by people who have received tremendous help and favors granted.
Almost all of the parishes in the United States where Filipinos are present and actively involved in the Apostolate would normally celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Manaoag. There were parishes like Our Lady of Pompei and the Immacualte Conception Church which commemorated the feast of Our Lady of Manaoag in the month of May.
However, at the Church of the Holy Child Jesus, the heads of the Filipino Apostolate decided to celebrate it last October 10, which coincides with the month of the feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. A nine-day novena with the recitation of the Holy Rosary commenced the celebration.
A small replica of Our Lady of Manaoag , owned by Kuya Cesar and Ate Linda Quitalig, was present during the novena.
We were also privileged to be visited by the beautiful image of Our Lady of Manaoag dressed in “gold” robe during the day of the mass itself, courtesy of Mr. Michael Calicdan.
It was a special celebration as there was a coronation ceremony led by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Guerrero and flower offering which were made part of the liturgy. The Holy Child Jesus (HCJ) Fil.-choir in their native Filipina dress and barong Tagalog rendered the liturgical songs and showed their wonderful talents during the entire ceremony, with the Himig Heswita’s version of Ave Maria Gratia Plena, as one of the highlights.
HCJ's FilAm choir tenors and basses
version of Ave Maria Gratia Plena, as one of the highlights.
The celebration last October 24, 2010 at St. Lucy’s Church in Manhattan may be considered as the culminating activity for the feast day of Our Lady of Manaoag in NYC. The event was organized by the Our Lady of Manaoag Society of America, led by its President Nida Cortez.. Mr. and Mrs. Ernesto and Rixie Tagle were the current Hermano/Hermana Mayores, respectively. The sponsors were the Board of Directors of Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) and the community representatives.
OLM image photo taken at St. Lucy Church, different from the one crowned at HCJ(courtesy of www.myusefultips.com)
Apart from the holy mass which was officiated by Most Rev. Oscar Aquino,JCD, other highlights of the celebration included the Blessing of the Medals. Installation of the Hermano and Hermana and the Sponsors, with the Investiture of Medals and Installation of Sashes, and the Crowning Ceremony.
It was a remarkable celebration, not because the church was jam packed with devotees and parishioners, but because of the 4 musical groups that offered and shared their talents, not only from FilAms but by foreigners as well. There was this amazing rendition of the liturgical songs by the Himig at Alay Music Ministry led by our friend Philip
the interpretation of Mr. Bob Kennaway, an American tenor, of the song “How Great Thou Art”,
the sax instrumental version of Ave Maria by a Venezuelan guy and the communion song “Lead Me Lord” by a few of the members of San Lorenzo/St. Lucy Choir.
(Venuezuelan man in the background)
As a matter of fact, Msgr. Aquino related one of the songs about God’s greatness that He gave us Blessed Mary, who is just like us, to be the Mother of Jesus, the Savior of the World.
Just like any other gatherings, the two feast day celebrations which I’ve witnessed both concluded with the partaking of food donated by devotees, line dance and the merriment. I would say, all of these could serve as ways of Our Lady giving back her gratefulness to us too!
Dedicated volunteers during HCJ's Our Lady of Manaoag fellowship (courtesy of www.myusefultips.com)
Line Dance activity during HCJ's OLM fellowship (courtesy of www.myusefultips.com)
Line dance activity at St. Lucy's social hall (courtesy of www.myusefultips.com)
Our Lady of Manaog is “canonically crowned image of our Lady of the Holy Rosary, duly recognized by the Vatican and enshrined in a church under the Dominican Order in the Philippines".