THE LAITY were called to turn their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by helping the poor during the celebration of the feast of La Naval de Manila at Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City last Oct. 11.

Devotees were encouraged to let the Lord enter their lives and use their faith to support the poor with the theme, “Inang Maria: Kalakbay sa Pagharap sa Hamon ng Karalitaan at Kabanalan.”

Fr. Delfo Canceron, O.P., a Dominican preacher based in UST, recalled how the Blessed Virgin accepted the responsibility of being the mother of Christ in his homily. “Si Maria ay bukas-loob sa kalooban ng Diyos kaya nagsimula ang kasaysayan ng pagkakatawang-tao ng Panginoon,” Fr. Canceron said.

In contrast, people now fail to respond to the call of God due to the rigors of daily life, he noted.

Fr. Rolando Mactal, O.P. prior of Santo Domingo Convent, called on devotees to lend a helping hand to the poor through prayers to the Blessed Mother. A stronger way of showing devotion to the Blessed Mother is through actions, he said.

“When devotees of the Blessed Mother pray the holy rosary, they remember those who are poor, and this can help them turn their devotion into action. Aside from attending activities like this and praying the rosary, we can also participate in helping other people,” Fr. Mactal said.

Faith on the laity

Vina Bunyi, a devotee of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval for the past 15 years, said attending the annual feast has been a tradition.

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“Tradisyon na talaga namin ito at saka siyempre, ‘yung panata. Estudiyante pa lang ako sa Santa Catalina dumadalo na talaga ako dito,” Bunyi said.

Filipinas Tomelden, a devotee who has attended the feast since 2005, took part in the procession with her daughter. “Noong college kasi siya, sinasamahan ko na siya sa La Naval, hanggang ngayon. At siyempre, deboto rin ako,” Tomelden said.

Tomelden said the Blessed Virgin Mary had granted many of her petitions. “I believe in her. One of my petitions before was to be able to work abroad. I was able to work in Japan for 13 years,” she said.

After the Holy Mass, thousands of devotees processed on the streets around Santo Domingo. The celebration was closed by a farewell song led by the Santo Domingo Male and Boys’ Choir. Krystel Nicole A. Sevilla

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