Devotion to Ina in Extraordinary Times



Were it not for the pandemic which still besets our country, we would have been celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia this coming September 16 and 17 with the usual Traslacion and Fluvial processions. But all these have been put on hold by the mandate of the Archdiocese of Caceres, headed by Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona. Nonetheless, the devotees of the Divino Rostro held a procession celebrating His feast day last Saturday by motorcade, and returned the Icon at the Basilica Minore after the procession. If I may recall, it was also some twenty (20) years ago while the fluvial procession was under way when the then wooden Colgante Bridge collapsed, and more than two (200) devotees fell down the Bicol River. I could still vividly remember the Naga City Jaycees under the presidency of the late Dr. Rolando Romagosa, together with this writer as then Jaycee Secretary, retrieved from the Bicol River more than thirty dead bodies which we brought to what was then the ABS-CBN radio station along Panganiban Avenue, for identification by their relatives. It was through the announcement of the ABS-CBN that the deceased were identified by their relatives, except one victim whose identity remained unknown. Members of the Jaycees thus accorded the unknown body its burial at the public cemetery. This religious event was overshadowed by the declaration of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and eventual declaration of Martial Law which stunned the Bicolanos and the whole nation at large. As a consequence of the declaration of martial law, Marcos ordered all loose firearms, including duly licensed ones voluntarily deposited with the Philippine Constabulary. Activists were also ordered arrested including some members of the IBP, Naga City and Camarines Sur Chapters. Leading among them were the late Atty. Antonio Carpio Sr. who was then the IBP President, the late Alfredo R. Tria and the late Nonong Trivino, who was already aboard the PNR bound for Manila when he was requested by my brother Capt. Ernesto K. Maristela- who was at that time the PC Company Commander at PNP Naga Command. Instead of being detained at the PC barracks, these activists were just assigned by Capt. Maristela to exclusive quarters where they can accept visitors at any time of the day, considering that they were all known to him and some of them being close friends.


These extraordinary times was the backdrop of the Penafrancia celebration then. It is happening again now, these extraordinary times in the celebration of this Feast of our Ina, Our Lady of Penafrancia, although in an entirely different way. Amid this pandemic, we are witnessing virtual holding of the novena masses on Facebook, something we could never have imagined would happen. The devotees of Ina have brought to their own homes the image of our Lady of Penafrancia in prayerful devotion. Netizens are uploading recorded videos of past celebrations in nostalgic longing for the traditional activities we have valued for a long time as part of our devotional practices. But the same fervor characterizes all these, the same love for Ina of a people who have been called, “pueblo amante de Maria”- a people in love with Mary.


To Jesus, through Mary- the Bicolanos’ hope and faith will thrive in these extraordinary times.


QUOTATION OF THE WEEK:


“FAITH IS THE BIRD THAT FEELS THE LIGHT WHEN THE DAWN IS STILL DARK” -Rabrindranath Tagore


FOR OUR WORD OF LIFE:


“THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH” - ISAIAH 40:31