HIGHLIGHTING the 100th anniversary of the canonical coronation of La Naval de Manila, the Dominican Province of the Philippines will reenact the Marian image’s solemn canonical coronation on Oct. 4 at the Sto. Domingo Parish in Quezon City, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The reenactment will be made during a High Mass to be celebrated by Msgr. Wojciech Zaluski, charge de affaires of the Apostolic Nunciature (the new Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, has yet to assume his post and present his diplomatic papers to Malacanang and the Philippine bishops), and 15 bishops coming from all over the country.

President Macapagal-Arroyo will lead civil officials in the reenactment.

According to Rev. Jeff Aytona, O.P., head of the technical committee for the reenactment, this year’s celebration of La Naval is very special.

“It is important to note that Our Virgin of La Naval is the first canonically crowned Marian image in the Philippines as well as in Asia,” Aytona told the Varsitarian. “Her crown symbolizes that She is the queen of heaven and earth.”

After the Mass, the enthronement of La Naval, which signals the official start of the novena Masses, will also be held. In this event, the image will be placed at the baldachino, a special platform for the Virgin, behind the altar of the Sto. Domingo Church.

“Unlike in the previous years, La Naval will not be brought to the throne through a procession. Rather, Our Lady will already be near the altar on Oct. 4,” Aytona said.

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Included in the centennial celebration is a musical tribute by classical and popular musicians in a concert serie,s titled Serenata, which will accompany the novena Masses, October 5 to 13.

Moreover, the massive coffee-table book, The Saga of La Naval de Manila: Triumph of a People’s Faith, will be launched on Oct. 7 at the Sto. Domingo Church.

The Nuestra Señora del Rosario de La Naval was canonically crowned in 1907 in accordance with the Papal Bull of Pope Pius X in 1906.

The 1907 coronation drew the biggest crowd of its time to Manila and was attended by leaders of Asian churches.

La Naval has been venerated in over four centuries since the image was made in the late 16th century. Unlike most Marian images during its time which had been shipped from Spain or Mexico, La Naval, then known simply as the Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario, was made locally.

The devotion to the Santisimo Rosario became historically significant during the so called La Naval de Manila battles in 1646, when the grossly underequipped Filipino and Spanish defenders on board two decrepit commercial galleons did battle with the vastly superior invading Dutch armada. The spectacular victory of the defenders was attributed to the intercession of the Santisimo Rosario since the defenders had prayed the rosary and had promised a religious pilgrimage to Santo Domingo, where the Marian icon was enshrined, should they win and survive the battles.

Henceforth, the icon became known as the Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario, La Naval de Manila, or simply Our Lady of La Naval.

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In Old Manila before World War II, the yearly La Naval festivities were the biggest and most lavish religious celebrations in Intramuros.

Even the late Pope John Paul II, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation for the Asian churches, entrusted the whole of Asia under the Blessed Mother.

“To Mary, model of all disciples and bright Star of Evangelization, I entrust the Church in Asia at the threshold of the Third Millennium of the Christian era, trusting absolutely that hers is an ear that always listens, hers a heart that always welcomes, and hers a prayer that never fails,” John Paul the Great said.

Oct. 10 [Wednesday] – Jose Mari Chan and Ms. Jamie Rivera

Oct. 11 [Thursday] – Psalterion of UST Central Seminary and Fatima Soriano

Oct. 12 [Friday] – Elim Community Music Ministry

Oct. 13 [Saturday] – Hail Mary Children’s Choir

Oct. 7 [Sunday] – FORMAL LAUNCHING – LA NAVAL DE MANILA COFFEE TABLE BOOK: — “The Saga of La Naval: Triumph of a People’s Faith” — (Santo Domingo Church)

Oct. 14 [Sunday] – GRAND LA NAVAL PROCESSION

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