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The dancing Virgin of Pakil, Laguna
Source: Inquirer
Author: Josephine Darang
Date: 1999-12-12
I WAS fascinated by the swaying of the bodies in tune with the

music, the waving of arms and the chanting of the loving phrase

''Turumba, Turumba sa Birhen!'' And so they came old men and

women, young people and children from the town of Pakil down

to Intramuros for the Marian procession last Dec. 5.

There we were from the lowlands fascinated by it all and more

convinced that our love for rites and traditions would save us

eventually from spiritual destruction. At the center of all this

was the Blessed Mother, whose feast day we celebrate today

(Dec. 12) under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Caught by a fishing net

The history of the Virgin of Turumba in Pakil begins when one

Friday morning, some fishermen trying their luck along Laguna

de Bay caught something on their nets. It was a 9'' x 11'' icon of

the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is said that when the fishermen tried to row the other way

going to another town, the boat would not budge. It was only

when they rowed the boat toward Pakil that the wind caught the

sail and on they went.

It was Sunday when the fishermen reached the shore. By then,

people had gathered. As if guided by the Virgin herself, the men

carried the icon with the people following in a procession. They

danced while parading.

The icon was enshrined in the church of San Pedro de Alcantara

which was run by the Franciscans. The day was Sept. 15, 1788.

Since then sets of nine-day novenas called ''lupi'' have been said

on Viernes Dolores until September. After every ''lupi'' is the

dancing of the ''turumba.'' People from far away come to Pakil in

fulfillment of a panata or to ask a favor.

Thank you, AFP

This column would like to thank the Armed Forces of the

Philippines for escorting the Blessed Mother during the Marian

procession last Dec. 5.

Like days of old, the military led the procession. They lent

solemnity to the occasion and an emotional moment came when

everyone stood to sing the National Anthem. I had never seen

the military so regal, so handsome in their uniforms.

A day in the life of a parish priest

Daniel Bernardo Sta. Maria was 36 years old when God called

him to become a priest. Daniel was a successful chemical

engineer and working in a top company; he was a summa cum

laude graduate of UST; he was good-looking and wanted to get


But God had other plans for him. He called him to the priesthood

and is presently the parish priest of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Parish in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati. Father Dan has been

promoted ''monsignor'' and has been for 13 years a priest.

In a delightful book ''A Day in the Life of a Parish Priest''

published by Catholic Book Center run by Louie Reyes,

Monsignor Dan describes his day-to-day life as a priest.

When I began reading it one Saturday afternoon, I could not

put it down as it put some light to some of the questions I had

been asking as to how the religious and priests could spend

their lives serving God totally.

Monsignor Dan answers these questions obliquely by citing

normal situations, from day-to-day life. The book also gives

importance to God's grace. It emphasizes the need for a strong

prayer life to sustain the religious vocation.

But what really is celibacy?

Monsignor Dan says that celibacy is not only the absence of a

wife, but it is also the commitment to total availability of service,

a total giving of self to others. He wrote: ''It is getting up at 3

o'clock in the morning to anoint a dying person after staying

past midnight for a youth get-together. It is foregoing a

much-needed siesta for an emergency counselling.''

This book is a ''must read'' for both priests and lay people. Our

lady of Guadalupe Parish should have the book or, perhaps,

Libreria de San Pablo.

Sacerdotal anniversaries

Fr. Oliver Genuino of Sto. Niqo de Molino Parish in Bacoor,

Cavite marks his 25th anniversary as a priest on Dec. 14 with a

Mass at 9:30 a.m. Father Ollie is one of my favorite priests. He is

a holy priest and committed to his calling.

Fr. Thomas Paul Naval and Fr. Luke William Ong recently

celebrated their 10th year anniversary as priests at the Shrine of

Mount Carmel in Quezon City.

Thank you, readers

Thanks to some of our readers, Bishop DeWitt now has a

wheelchair and also three other sisters of the Mensa Domini.

God bless you.

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