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Papal Nuncio to lead Ina’s fiesta in Naga

By Jason B. Neola and Paulo DS. Papa

THE 313th year fiesta of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and the 141st devotion to El Divino Rostro are poised to once again showcase the vibrant tapestry of devotion and community that define this unique festival. Held annually in Naga City, known as the Pilgrim City, the festivities are set to captivate the hearts of more than a million guests, devotees, pilgrims, and visitors.

This year’s gathering, expected to draw more than a million participants from around the world, offers a unique opportunity for reflection and renewal. As devotees, pilgrims, and guests converge here, they carry with them their own stories, hopes, and prayers, creating a mosaic of experiences that add to the richness of the event.

An air of anticipation fills the faithful as Bishop Charles Brown, the distinguished papal nuncio to the Philippines, prepares to preside over a series of momentous Holy Masses alongside Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona and esteemed bishops from the Bicol Region. The grand occasion, paying homage to the revered Our Lady of Peñafrancia and Divino Rostro, promises to be a spiritual milestone for the region.

Scheduled to commence on September 16th, the Papal Nuncio’s arrival in Naga City is met with fervor. Reverend Fr. Juan Pablo Carpio, Vice Rector of the iconic Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica Minore, confirms the noteworthy event. As the sun rises on the 16th, Naga City will witness the convergence of faith and devotion as the Papal Nuncio leads the faithful in the Holy Mass following the mesmerizing fluvial procession, set against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Basilica grounds.

A pivotal moment is poised to occur on September 17th, as the entire region comes together to honor the Feast Day of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. At 8 a.m., the Papal Nuncio will once again ascend the pulpit, joined by Archbishop Tirona and the esteemed Bishops of the Bicol Region. Their collective presence exemplifies unity and shared reverence, underscoring the significance of the occasion.

With hearts full of anticipation, the Bicolanos eagerly await the spiritual guidance and blessings that Bishop Charles Brown, in communion with Archbishop Tria Tirona and the assembled bishops, will impart upon them. This confluence of faith and tradition promises to be a chapter etched deeply into the tapestry of the region’s spiritual history, affirming the enduring power of devotion and unity.

The Papal Nuncio will be joined by Tirona and the bishops in the Bicol Region, namely, Bishop Jose Rojas of the Diocese of Libmanan; Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon, Diocese of Daet; Bishop Joel Baylon, Diocese of Legazpi; Bishop Jose Alan Dialogo, Diocese of Sorsogon; Bishop Manolo Delos Santos, Diocese of Virac; and Bishop Jose Bantolo of Diocese of Masbate.

Carpio said that during a meeting of the local church officials, Brown will stay in the city until Sept. 18. “There will be personnel from a law enforcement agency who will be assigned to ensure the safety and security of the visiting priest,” Carpio said.

He said Rev. Fr. Gerome Pelagio, the secretary to the archbishop, has already coordinated the matter with the Joint Operation Center.

Carpio has called on the public to help make the celebration of the fiesta a solemn one.


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