The Miraculous Manto of Ina
Many years ago, when I was sick, the Manto was placed on my chest like a blanket, my family members told me later on that I exclaimed, “Thank you, Mama Mary…” If they did not tell me that I would not have known. Well, to tell you the truth, I felt a sense of peace and my soul felt that I was not alone. And, that I was under Ina’s loving protection.
We know how mothers could be, right? Especially when it comes to her children. If a son or daughter has been away for a long period of time, make no mistake about it, the mothers will clean the house. General or deep cleaning. The linen, curtains, bedding-- pillow cases, blankets, bed sheets --will all be laundered. The floor would be waxed, polished, and shined. The special dishes, glasses, and cutlery will be taken out of the cupboard. And, the garden would be spruced up; lawn mowed, shrubs and plants pruned. Everything would be spic and span. It is like royalty would be visiting the home.
If you could only see the City of Naga now. Most of the buildings are newly painted. The roundabout marking Naga as a Pilgrim City is beautifully prepared. A fresh coat of white paint makes the roads quite appealing. The lane markers and pedestrian lanes are all the more lovely. The City parks had also been given a new landscaping. There are also improvements being done in the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral grounds.
Without a doubt, there will be more devotees coming this year. Why? Because it is only this year that the pandemic restrictions had been officially lifted. The September fiesta phenomenon have always been a part of us. It is like the air we breathe. Growing up with its many traditions, our mind had been indelibly imprinted with cherished memories of Ina and The Holy Face.
Unfortunately, the pandemic took away something from us, not all of it, of course, but the mere physical presence had been restricted. Online participation, honestly, does not measure up to the real McCoy. Most of the senior citizens for instance had been forewarned not to take part in most activities. Moreover, people with illnesses had been advised to stay away.
Providentially, we can all make a journey to Naga this September. We missed everything about it. Most of all, we missed our Ina. Whatever intentions we may have, it is the best time to bring them to Ina and El Divino Rostro. A prayer of gratitude-- for keeping us safe, for the bountiful blessings, for healing, and for a deeper faith and more profound devotion.
The myriad masses and novenas are all scheduled for the taking. Yes, there are peripheral fun-filled activities, however, the focus is on our Ina and The Holy Face. She is the Queen while her Son is the King. The bond that the two have is the same bond that we have to emulate. We cannot think of one without the other. It is like a package deal. And, it is how it should be. Nuestra Senora de Peñafrancia and El Divino Rostro. Viva!
We think that one of the best souvenirs you could purchase in this year’s September occasion is a replica of Ina. The images come in different designs and sizes. Anybody can afford one. There is a price that best suits you. If you like a similar replica with the same size as the original you can buy one as well. The sales from this will help local parishes.
Where can you buy them? They are available in Souvenir Shops at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, Old Peñafrancia Shrine, Saint Pauline’s, San Francisco Chruch, Basilica Minore, and at ShoeMart. When we buy from these shops we also support the worthwhile projects of the local parishes and foster the religious communities.
You may also like to take part in the Bishop Francisco Gainza Trade Fair 2023. Bishop Gainza started the First Agro-Industrial Fair in Bicol in 1875. The fair was revived and named after him in September 2010 during the Tercentenary Celebration of Our Lady of Peñafrancia. The Trade Fair will be held on September 7 - 18 at Robinsons Naga.
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