The morning after the benefit concert, I heard mass at the Peñafrancia Shrine
|facade of the shrine|
|parish office on the side|
I remember hearing early morning Saturday masses here with my Papa and Mama when I was in Fifth Grade. The Church was old but the interiors were newly-painted then. It felt like I was at the Sistine Chapel when we heard masses there.
|the Sistine Chapel-like ceiling:
notice a wood panel already missing
|people lining up for communion|
After the mass, I went to “see” Ina and touch her manto. I wanted to take time with her at this point, not during the month of September when pilgrims end up waiting for several hours just to see her. With the same plan as mine, people who heard mass earlier trooped to the back of the church where the viewing spot was.
|people in line: notice the peeling paint of the doors|
|the marbled floors are still good, though
(those feet are mine)
She is Ina — Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Queen of Region who have been protecting us since time immemorial. She is our prompt intercessor in all that our hearts wish for.
|devotees: mother and child, and sister|
|a closer look at the grills|
To touch Ina through the protective iron grills is a blessing itself. When it was my turn to touch her manto, I thanked her for all the blessings I have received through her intercession. I thanked her for all the strength and guidance she has been interceding for me. My prayers are answered through her: To Jesus Through Mary.
I went down the flight of stairs to give way to the other devotees who came to see her. I then made my way to where the Blessed Sacrament was. I vividly remember saying my prayers there as a child, all of whom were answered.
I removed my shoes and ‘parked’ it outside for where I stood was holy ground. As I child, Papa taught me to spend at least a quarter of an hour inside the Blessed Sacrament I practice it until now that I am old enough to discern my thoughts on my own.
|view from where I knelt|
I was stupefied when I got inside. There were only four people inside, including myself. All three others were males. And they wee all deep in prayer — with eyes closed, they were murmuring the desires of their heart. One was even sobbing. I felt my stomach tighten a bit. Imagine these gentlemen, on bended knees, pouring out their wishes and dreams to the Lord. It was a natural sight to see women do that. But these people, they’re men. That’s really something.
I said my own prayers, said my Amen and left. I vowed I’ll be back once again.
|Outside looking in: I knelt over there|
Get this, we are truly blessed as individuals. We may not have in our hands everything that we have been praying for, but at least we have something. Graces have been pouring in left and right, up and down, and we oftentimes forget to be grateful for everything. With the little that we have, at least we all have something while others do not have anything at all. We are blessed, really, really blessed.
|A day before my birthday:
a picture of truly blessed me
Now, Ina needs our help. Her home, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine is in dire need of money to fund the repairs and restoration of the Church. As a Bicolana, I am compelling myself to pass this message of hope for Ina’s home. The Peñafrancia Church is Bicol’s seat of faith. It is the concrete establishment of our love for Ina. Why not extend a hand to help this time?
Oftentimes, we remember her only during September during her feast. But for the rest of the year, She is nothing/ no one to us. It’s time we help and bring back the beauty of her home. Let’s help out.
Kindly pass this message to anyone you know. Donations of any amount are accepted at the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Parish, Peñafrancia Avenue, Naga City 4400.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!