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PAMPANGA, Philippines – Thousands of Kapampangan Catholic devotees gathered at the Pampanga provincial capitol on Friday, September 8, to mark the 67th anniversary of the canonical coronation of Virgen delos Remedios, the patroness of the province of Pampanga.
Among the crowd were families from the neighboring towns and villages, various groups from the Catholic Church as well as students, and a group of Aeta from Porac town.
Outside the capitol compound, vendors have also put up temporary stands selling different goods. In a small corner, Judilyn David and her siblings were handing out hotdog sandwiches and ensaymadas to other Catholic devotees for free.
Judilyn, 36 and a single mother to her four children, said they wanted to continue their family tradition and celebrate her birthday with a simple treat to fellow devotees.
Judilyn only began sharing free light meals to devotees for the past three years but she has been observing the canonical coronation together with her family for more than a decade. The activity, she said, was also a tribute to their mother, Susana, who passed away of cancer in April.
“This is also for our mother, to remember her and continue our tradition even though she passed away just this year. Those who knew her know how happy she was when we first did this so we wanted to carry on,” said Judilyn in Kapampangan language.
“I used to get sick on my birthday. Then I thought since we also join the celebration, attend the Holy mass, why not also share food since it’s also my birthday. It feels really good spending it this way.”
The Virgen delos Remedios is celebrated every 8th of September, coinciding with the Catholic Church’s commemoration of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. The official title was granted and given a canonical coronation by Pope Pius XI through a papal bull on July 15, 1956.
The procession of the sacred images of the Virgen delos Remedios and Santo Cristo del Pedron started at the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Fernando and ended at the capitol grounds followed by a Thanksgiving Mass presided over by Archbishop Florentino Lavarias together with Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto.
In his homily, Lavarias recalled how the Kapampangan’s devotion for the Virgen delos Remedios remained steadfast up to the present time and relayed the message that hope and faith persist especially in difficult times.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando encompassed the celebration with the theme: “Kalupa mung mikapnuan king grasya, abayan mu kaming mangapmu mu naman king grasia” in Kapampangan which conveys the message that as Mary embraced her role as the bearer of Christ, we should embrace our identity as vessels of grace. And as Mary was filled with the fullness of the grace of God, we are also called to renew our commitment to becoming vessels of God’s grace.
The archdiocese also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Cruzada de Penitencia y Caridad which was initiated by the diocese’s first bishop, Cesar Maria Guerrero. The cruzada bears the image of the Virgen de los Remedios in its apostolate to fight communism and to work towards peace and reconciliation. – Rappler.com