Each year on July 7- 16, the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Concepcion Pequeña, Naga City draws hundreds of devotees during the novenary days and more so, on the feast day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. People brave the rains, which for many, signifies bountiful blessings. This also serves as a reminder of the tiny cloud and the subsequent torrential rains witnessed by St. Elijah on the Mountain of Carmel which pre-figured Our Lady.
This year, the feast day masses were presided by Rev. Fr. Joey Gonzaga, Rector of the Holy Rosary Major Seminary at 6:30 in the morning and by Most Rev. Jose Rojas, Bishop of Libmanan at 5:30 in the afternoon.
Fr. Gonzaga draws his inspiration from the Gospel of St Luke. Quoting the verse, “Standing by the foot of the cross was His mother”, he emphasized what is good in “standing by”. According to Fr. Gonzaga, Mary did not give up on her Son, she stood by Him during his moment of pain because of her steadfast faith. To stand by means:
1. To be loyal and committed in good and bad times and to be available to God and others.
2. Active waiting for the Lord’s answer to our prayers and petitions at the same working towards the realization of our goals.
3. Following Jesus with passion and compassion, taking Jesus and Mary into our hearts, families and communities.
4. Listening attentively with our hearts.
Fr. Gonzaga challenged the devotees with his final words: “Here I am Lord, I come to stand by You and your mother lovingly and forever.”
Bishop Rojas, on the other hand, challenged Mary’s devotees to set the world on FIRE through:
F-faith in the midst of trials and difficulties; to find strength through unceasing prayers.
I-intimacy, which we build by loving God more and more, thus making our relationship with Him even deeper.
R-renewal, by humbly asking forgiveness from Him, in order for us to have a renewed life and be better persons.
E-energized in proclaiming and spreading the word of God to the ends of the earth.
In line with these two messages, the Brown Scapular, which is given during the novenary days and feast day, is a fitting reminder of our daily consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In addition, it is emphasized that the Brown Scapular is a Sacramental of Love to be worn piously and devoutly as a sign of salvation and special protection.