THOUSANDS of Catholics took part in the biggest Marian procession in the country held in Intramuros last Dec. 2.

Marian devotees from all over the nation followed 90 images of the Blessed Virgin Mary, accompanied by marching bands. Dance performances lent a festive and colorful mood to the annual event.

"This year of faith has given an opportunity to so many devotees of our Christian faith, to show their devotion to the Blessed Mother. I am impressed with the sacrifices the young people have shown coming from other provinces, travelling many hours," said Tuguegarao Archbishop Emeritus Diosdado Talamayan.

"They believe in the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and our Mother. I believe this is another case for us to strengthen our faith,” Talamayan added.

The grand procession has been a tradition every first Sunday of December since 1980. The event is an anticipated celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which Catholics celebrate every Dec. 8, and an observance of the first week of Advent.

The procession, led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), included images of San Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint; La Naval de Manila from Santo Domingo Church; and Nuestra Señora de la Consolacio y Correa from San Agustin Church in Intramuros.

Most of the devotees came from Pakil, Laguna, occupying 50 buses. They participated in the procession with their patroness, Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de Turumba.

La Pieta International Prayer Group, consisting of devotees from New York, Chicago, Florida, and California in United States, accompanied the image of Mother of Love, Peace and Joy.

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Images that came from the provinces included the Virgen Milagrosa del Santissimo Rosario from Orani, Bataan and Nuestra Señora de Visitacion from Piat, Cagayan. DENISE PAULINE P. PURUGGANAN

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