LAST July 3, the people of Kawit, Cavite staged the caracol in honor of St. Mary Magdalene whose feast day falls on July 22. The following day, they began the first set of novenas that ended on July 12. Hosted by the Barangay (village) Pastoral Council, the novena began at 6 a.m. with the Holy Rosary followed by novena and Mass.
My friend Ali Rich Garcia and I went there one fiesta and we marveled at how the people patiently waited to make besa mano? in front of her statue after the Mass. Our host was Mila Que who was hermana mayor that year. It was actually Manang Mila who introduced me to the devotion to the saint.
It was from her that I learned you cannot refuse if there is a request for you to be hermana. The first time she was asked, Manang Mila did not know where she would get the money to prepare the simple snack served after the 9 a.m. Mass. But she accepted. And like the Biblical story of ?the multiplication of the bread and fish,? the food was enough and more was left.
Her husband, engineer Tony Que shares the same belief that one cannot refuse to serve the Lord through His saints. From that experience I learned to believe in the miraculous intercession of St. Mary Magdalene.
Ali and I posed for a picture with the saint. I also took a close-up photo of her and had it framed and is now sitting on my altar. Ali?s prayer was answered -- he got a US visa. He is now preparing for an exhibit at the Philippine Center in New York on March 29-April 11, 2010.
Imus Bishop Chito Tagle will officiate the concelebrated Fiesta Mass on July 22 at 9:30 a.m. Other Masses are at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 9 a.m, 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Parish pries, Fr. Romeo Ner is coordinating the activities with the Pastoral Council headed by Alan Ilustrissimo as president.
The second set of novenas is on July 13-21 with the same morning schedule; and third set is on July 23-31. On July 21, 7:30 a.m., there will be a caracol. A procession will culminate the month?s activities on July 31 at 7:30 p.m.
The call to serve
Why Alan has been serving for the past 25 years is also a puzzle to him. When he was first invited to serve as lay minister in St. Mary Magdalene Parish, he declined because he felt that with all the things he was doing then, he would not have the time. Then, he had a dream.
A procession of St. Mary Magdalene was approaching his house and the carroza went inside his yard. He took that as a sign that Mary Magdalene was calling him to propagate her devotion.
In the town of Orani, Bataan is the miraculous Lady of the Holy Rosary, more popularly known as Our Lady of Orani. She inspired the writing of a coffee-table book called ?Lambong.?
One of the authors, Joel de Leon, told me lambong refers to the manto of Our Lady. Sick people wrap themselves with the manto and they get well. The image is the third oldest Marian image in the Philippines.
The first is Nuestra Señora de Guia who was discovered by a Spanish soldier on May 19, 157l in Ermita. The second is Our Lady of Piat who was brought to Cagayan Valley from Macau in 1604.
A pilgrimage to the Virgin of Orani is being organized for the first Saturday of every month. Text Joel de Leon at 0917-5250823 on how to join and where to buy the book.
Rosa Mistica Mass
Devotees of Our Lady Rosa Mistica all over the world will celebrate her feast day on July 13. In Manila, Mass will be celebrated on July 13, 12 nn at the Harrison Plaza Chapel. The public is invited. Happy feast day, Mama Rosa.