Oct. 27, 2012—The Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) at the forefront with Marian, Family organizations, other movements and groups of St. John the Baptist parish, launched its big Living Rosary in celebrating Mary as the “Star of New Evangelization” by contemplating on the role of the Blessed Mother in the history of the Church, especially of this locality.
The BECs in a statement say, “We venerate and turn to Mary in prayer, elevating our petitions joining with others spiritually throughout the world…We seek to renew prayer of the Rosary in the family, community and society in this Year of Faith as we allow ourselves to be guided by Mary, ‘Star of the New Evangelization’, model of faith…in meditating on the mysteries of Christ, we assimilate the Gospel in order to live daily an authentic Christian life towards a journey to eternity…”
At 3 p.m., devotees converged at Dolores Chapel and prayed the chaplet of the Divine Mercy. There were Marian audio-video presentations as well as on the life of San Pedro Calungsod that included reading of his missionary story by a teenage girl. “Kuya Pedro” as a youth missionary model is remembered with his Marian and Eucharistic devotion. He was considered as joining the said Living Rosary in the spirit of “communion of Saints” as professed in the Catholic Credo. Kuya Pedro was trained as Catechist, sacristan and all-around assistant here at St. John the Baptist Parish for about two years (1666-1668). He joined with Fr. Diego Luis Sanvitores, his Parish priest mentor, in a mission to Marianas Islands (Guam). They set foot in Marianas on a Saturday (June 15, 1668), the “day of Mary.” Both died as martyrs of the faith also on a Saturday (April 2, 1672), a day after “Viernes Dolores” and eve of Palm Sunday.
The devotees solemnly prayed the Sorrowful mysteries in a procession going to the parish Church carrying a huge Rosary replica, followed by the five banner-images of Mary and Kuya Pedro. Barefooted Black Nazarene devotees carried the “Jubilee Cross 2000.” Together with the “Divine Mercy” image, they were at the processional-end in apparent profession of faith that “through Mary we are led to Christ, and the Rosary leads us to the Cross and the Eucharist.” Simultaneous activity was at the Church’s patio: the praying of the mysteries of Sorrow led by the elderly, sick, disable and pregnant. Those who arrived in procession encircled the 5 images of Mary assembled at the center of the patio and formed as the beads of the giant Living Rosary. The Jubilee Cross stood tall in the middle. Meditating on the Joyful mysteries as the main event, Mary is venerated as the Immaculate Conception, with her manifestations as revealed by her images brought by early Christian missionaries. They were presented in historical chronology and had close links to the parishioners. Each procession of the images inside the giant Living Rosary was carried by barefooted Nazarene devotees and escorted by a phalanx of Knights of Columbus in full-gala uniform. “Annunciation” being the first mystery celebrated our Lady of Guadalupe. The icon-image of Guadalupe was brought in the country in 1565 through a perilous voyage of galleon from Mexico. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the Philippines as decreed by Pope Pius XI in July 16, 1935. Guadalupe’s mysterious imprint on the tilma (cape) of a native Mexican-Indian named Juan Diego, is depicted as “pregnant woman clothed with the sun and stars,” and is also the patroness of the unborn including proLifers in their advocacy against RH Bill and the evils of culture of death.
“Visitation” is the second mystery. It celebrated the Blessed Mother who is enshrined in Antipolo Church, now the Cathedral of the Diocese of which the parish now belongs. The image arrived in the country in 1626 from Mexico. It criss-crossed the Pacific as patroness of the galleons and safety of seafarers; hence, the title Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje, our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The first journey of Good News was when Mary set out uphill to Judah to visit Elizabeth. When she greeted Elizabeth, John the Baptist, the baby in her womb, leaped for joy. This reminds us of Mary as our hope and companion in life’s journey to eternity as we set out in throng of pilgrims to the shrine nestled uphill in Antipolo.
The third mystery is the “Incarnation” which celebrated our Lady of Holy Rosary who holds a scepter and a staff on one hand, and carries Niño Jesus on her other hand while “the world rests on His palm.” The Lady of Rosary or Lady of La Naval had become the patroness of Christian navies. The Lady is implored and praying the Rosary is for protection in times of troubles and battles, be they physical or spiritual. The Lady’s image inspired the Nazarene devotees who symbolically replicated the barefoot processions in Rome led by Pope Pius V during the battle of Lepanto in 1517, and by Filipino devotees after the battle of Manila Bay in 1646.
The fourth mystery is the “Presentation” which meditated on the manifestations of our Lady of Sorrows, the “Dolorosa,” the image which could have been “made by Fr. Petrus de Sylva,” way back in 1701. Even in the absence of historical and canonical recognition, the “Dolorosa” is dearly enshrined in the Chapel of the biggest barangay, both named after her; and most importantly, enshrined in the hearts of the devotees. The chapel is situated right in the heart of the busy poblacion, along the main road, where deep veneration of the “Dolorosa” could only be known in the deepest recesses of one’s heart.
“Finding Jesus” is the fifth mystery. It celebrated our Lady of Fatima who found Jesus and continues to find Him in the person of those in need of mercy, in simplicity and humility, the pure of hearts, like the three children (Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco) to whom the “secret of Heaven was revealed.” The Fatima is implored for peace in the world even as warning is aired again of the influence of the errors of unbelief by Godless Russia, the country that first legalized abortion; in predominantly Catholic Mexico that legalized abortion in its premier City in 2009 when leftist-radicals gained state power; and in the US, the country that imprinted “In God we trust” in their dollars, but had become the abortion flagship in the secularized world. The abominable killing of millions of unborn children surpasses the death-toll of all world wars and the threat to peace posed by weapons of mass destruction.
A seminarian led the “Consecration prayer of the faithful to the Immaculate Heart.” After Msgr. Peter Canonero, the parish priest, gave the final blessing, the devotees set loose the balloons to fly to heaven as the “Salve Regina” filled the air. The two and a half-hour event concluded with a Eucharistic mass, while others proceeded to Antipolo for the mass in welcoming the arrival of the pilgrim image of San Pedro Calungsod at the cathedral. (Jose A. Fernandez)