19th Annual National Filipino Pilgrimage
Posted Aug 18, 2015, 1:27 PM by Gaio GonzalezJoin us on June 18, 2016, Saturday, for the 19th Annual National Filipino Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peace & Good Voyage, Birhen ng Antipolo, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.On January 12, 2014, Pope Francis named Quevedo as one of 19 men to be inducted into the College of Cardinals in the consistory of February 22, 2014, with the titular church of Santa Maria "Regina Mundi" a Torre Spaccata.He is the first cardinal from Mindanao and the second current Filipino cardinal-elector, along with Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila.Pope Francis has appointed Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo to be his special envoy to the 150th anniversary celebration of the discovery of the “Hidden Christians of Japan” in Nagasaki early this year.Pilgrimage Schedule of Activities10:00 a.m.: Novena11:00 a.m.: Sacrament of Reconciliation at the Memorial Hall12:00 p.m.: Rosary prayers, Serenata and Image Procession2:00 p.m.: Eucharistic Celebration
18th Annual Pilgrimage
Posted Aug 18, 2015, 1:13 PM by Gaio GonzalezHis Excellency Jose F. Advincula, Jr., Archbishop of Capiz, Philippines was the principal celebrant and homilist at the Eucharistic Celebration that highlighted the 18th Annual National Filipino Pilgrimage that was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on June 27, 2015.Archbishop Advincula was touched by the presence of over a hundred Marian images that portrayed the Blessed Virgin Mary in different costumes and various titles and how she was honored at the Basilica during the pilgrimage. In his homily, he described Mary according to the title she was known for. To name a few, he described the Virgin Mary as a “Woman of Steel” who navigated the perilous waters of the Pacific when she accompanied the Spanish Galleon Trades; “Practical Ina” who took care of her children; “Robe of Salvation” and “Mantle of Justice” for providing strength in the midst of trials.His homily overflowed with history and humor. To the delight of the congregation, he recited a verse from a famous song that reminded them of the traditional pilgrimage to Antipolo and a side trip to “Hinulugang Taktak” to enjoy “kasoy”, “suman”, and “balimbing”. On a more serious note, he said, there is more to “suman”, “kasoy”, and "balimbing”. Archbishop Advincula said the people flock to Antipolo every year to honor our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.He concluded his homily with a prayer and an appeal to the pilgrims to maintain the Filipino Catholic identity of«Pueblo Amante de Maria» and emphasized that our love for Mary should end up to our love for Christ. Indeed, the 18th Annual Pilgrimage in honor of our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage overflowed with faith, patience, love, generosity, and service to the Lord.The Main BNA Choir, a collaboration of choirs from Maryland and New York conducted by Val Venida, BNA Choir Director, lifted the pilgrims› spirits and reminded everyone of God›s love and faithfulness with their emotional rendition of “The Music of Your Love” and “Tell the World of His Love.”Msgr. Vito Buonanno, Director of Pilgrimages, welcomed all the Filipino pilgrims to the Basilica with open arms and appreciated their devotion to our Lady of Antipolo.Rev. Fr. Michael Weston, Director of Liturgy, did not leave any stone unturned to ensure the sequence of events flowed smoothly without any visible disruptions. His eye for detail and patience in directing the liturgy participants assured the solemnity of the Liturgical Celebration.The concelebrating priests, deacons, lectors, prayer petition leaders, and altar servers, in their own quiet ways, demonstrated their dedication to serve the Lord.In keeping up with the theme, Rev. Fr. Gary T. Villanueva, Pastor of the St. Columba Church, delivered his reflection on “The Year of Consecrated Life.” He touched on Pope Francis’ encyclical and shared his personal journey from a professional engineer to living a consecrated life as a priest. The Filipino pilgrims were touched by his narratives and inspired them to pray for all good and faithful men and women who dedicate themselves to God and to the people with generosity and personal sacrifices.
Msgr. Walter Rossi, Director of the Basilica, in his welcome remarks, echoed Pope Francis’ observation that Filipinos are known for their love of God. He expressed his joy in the continued success of the yearly Pilgrimage and commended the organizers, spearheaded by Eddie Caparas, Mila Cortez, and Gaio Gonzalez for their commitment to this yearly mission of propagating faith in Christ and devotion to the Virgin Mary.In light of the concern with the Ordination of the Deacons that preceded the 18th Annual Pilgrimage, Monsignor Rossi announced to the congregation that there will be a change in the Calendar of Events in 2016. He said that the Ordination of the Priests in 2016 will coincide with the schedule of the 19th Annual Pilgrimage on June 25th. To ensure that the use of the Basilica will be solely dedicated to the Filipino Pilgrimage in 2016, he proposed to move the Pilgrimage date from June 25 to June 18, 2016. This wonderful surprise brought joy and relief to Msgr. Vito Buonanno and the organizers.It would be noteworthy to mention that this year’s 18th Annual Pilgrimage coincided with the Ordination of Deaconsthat took place at the Upper Church of the Basilica in the morning of June 27, 2015. The ceremony completed on time but the attendees lingered for a few minutes that caused minor delays in the preparation for the Serenata, Procession of Marian Images, and the Recitation of the Holy Rosary. In addition to the delay, Filipino pilgrims competed for parking spaces closest to the Basilica to avoid being drenched by the pouring rain. How did the organizers, volunteers, and Filipino pilgrims handle the situation?The Birhen Ng Antipolo, USA, Inc., the organizer of the annual pilgrimage, and the many volunteers took everythingin stride. Despite the restriction of movement they managed to set up signage, met with the participants at their designated places, and managed to start the proceedings on time. The heavy downpour did not discourage nor dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Filipino pilgrims who trekked to the Basilica to participate in variousactivities leading to the Eucharistic Celebration.
While the Ordination of Deacons was taking place at the Upper Church, the Filipino pilgrims gathered at the Memorial Hall at the Lower level; choir members did their rehearsals at their designated chapels; and image bearers set up their images and waited patiently for their turn to proceed to the Upper Church.The quiet confidence and unwavering faith of the team leaders and their volunteers contributed to the smooth flow of the procession of Marian images.New floral arches, prepared in advance by dedicated men and women devotees, added festive colors to the procession. The image bearers marched towards the altar to the beautiful music rendered by the choirs from Floral Park, NY, Falls Church, VA, Iselin, NJ, Philadelphia, PA, Clinton, NJ, Tidewater, VA. The young boys and girls took center stage and led the pilgrims in the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Pamela Cindy Felix Manuel sang the heart rending hymn of Birhen ng Antipolo as the last group of Birhen ng Antipolo image bearers made their way to the altar to conclude the Marian procession.Despite the minor setback, all segments of the pilgrimage started and completed on time. The Novena Prayerto Our Lady of Antipolo, led by the Choir of St. Anthony from Falls Church, VA, started promptly at 10:00 AM atthe Crypt Church. The pilgrims participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that commenced at 11:00 A.M. Asscheduled, Alma Caparas delivered the opening remarks at the Upper Church followed by Msgr. Vito Buonanno’swelcome message to signal the start of the procession of Marian images. The procession to the Oratory of Our Lady of Antipolo, led by Archbishop Advincula, and the blessings concluded the pilgrimage.The day’s activities reflected what Pope Francis said: “We should not only give in abundance; we should alsogive in substance.”In essence, the cooperation, dedication, enthusiasm, and generous contribution of time, talent and treasure fromeveryone who supported the 18th Annual Pilgrimage were glowing examples of giving in abundance and in substance.Generosity filled the Basilica with love and joy.
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