This year, the image of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila is enthroned on the carroza instead of her baldacchino throne. (Photo by Joenner Paulo L Enriquez, O.P. /The Varsitarian)

The great Marian feast of October is still on despite the coronavirus pandemic.

On Oct. 1, Filipino Dominicans enthroned the centuries-old image of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila on a boat-shaped carriage, instead of in the traditional “baldacchino.”

The act symbolizes Mary’s courage to sail the battles of life and hope in God’s love and protection despite adversity, said Fr. Roger Quirao, O.P., prior of the Santo Domingo Convent, in his homily during the Mass for the enthronement, which starts the nine-day novena for the feast of La Naval de Manila.

“Mary is our Mother of Hope. She is Our Lady, Health of the Sick. Always trust, hope, and believe that she is always with us ready to help her beloved children,” he said before Marian devotees at Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Naval.

The October feast commemorates the miraculous naval victory of the Spanish and Filipinos against Dutch invaders in 1646, and occurs during the month of the holy rosary, the devotion propagated by the Dominicans.

The theme of the festivities this year is “Maria: Ina ng Pag-asa, Kagalingan at Pagkakaisa (Mary, Mother of Hope, Healing and Unity).”

In line with the protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, only 10 percent of the seating capacity of the Santo Domingo Church was accommodated during enthronement rites.

Novena Masses were set on Oct. 2 to Oct. 10, with the fiesta Mass on Oct. 11 to be led by Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco.

Quirao said the past eight months of 2020 have brought anxiety and fear to everyone’s lives.

Halos sa simula pa lamang ng 2020 ay marami ng pagsubok ang dumating sa ating buhay. Nandiyan ang pagsabog ng bulkang Taal at sinundan agad ng pandemya na ating nilalabanan halos walong buwan na hanggang ngayon,” he said.

(In the first few months of 2020, we experienced several challenges in life. There was the eruption of the Taal Volcano and was immediately followed by the pandemic that we have been fighting for almost eight months until now.)

Despite challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, he reminded the faithful of God’s love.

“There is no certainty when and how our present situation will end. [O]nly one thing is certain in our lives and that is the love of God for all of us. As long as there is love, as long as there is God, anything and everything is possible,” he said. with reports from Joenner Paulo L. Enriquez, O.P.


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