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Marilao church now national shrine of Divine Mercy
Source: Inquirer
Author: None
Date: 2002-04-06
ELEVEN years ago when Fr. Vic Robles celebrated the feast of the Divine Mercy on April 6, 1991 at the St. Michael Church in Marilao, little did he know that he would be building a shrine of the Divine Mercy to which thousands of people would come for healing and spiritual renewal.

God guided him to Sta. Rosa I, a barrio of Marilao, where he built what is now a shrine with Stations of the Cross on the vast land behind the church and the chapel of Our Lady of Fatima. The chapel of St. Joseph will be constructed soon.

Building the shrine was not easy. It took many years, but God was with Father Vic all the way. There was an incident when he needed money badly to pay workers and buy materials. Out of the blue, a lady arrived at the shrine and handed him an envelope, which contained a check worth 1 million pesos.

Testimonies on miraculous healings and even spiritual conversion were told during Mass. The fame of the shrine spread.

When my friend Dulce Reyes of People's Journal and I visited Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona in Malolos, Bulacan, last Holy Thursday, he reminded us that the feast of the Divine Mercy is today and that many people would flock to Sta. Rosa.

The CBCP has recently approved the dedication of the church as the National Shrine of Divine Mercy and the celebration will be held in October.

At the shrine in Marilao, novena Masses were held March 29 to April 6 at 6 p.m. The fiesta Mass today is at 5:30 a.m. and will be celebrated by Bishop Tirona. The other schedules are 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. followed by 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Assisting Father Robles is Fr. Angelito Santiago.

St. Anne Shrine in Hagonoy

In the afternoon of Holy Thursday, Bishop Tirona himself drove Dulce and myself to Hagonoy to visit the national shrine of St. Anne, mother of Mama Mary. It is a very old church with Msgr. Macario Manahan as parish priest and Fr. Nap Baltazar as his assistant.

We asked for three favors, which is a custom when visiting churches for the first time. The miraculous images of St. Anne and the young Mary were beautiful. I remember that when I was very sick in 1981 I would pray the miraculous prayer to St. Anne for the sick which was given to me by my friend Gina Camus. Of course, St. Anne helped me, so I am devoted to her to this day.

We left the shrine and proceeded to Barasoain Church, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Msgr. Flint Capiral and his assistant, Fr. Boy Cruz, celebrated the Mass and performed the "Washing of the


Dulce and I felt very good that we were observing Holy Thursday in the province. Then we dropped by the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where the Bishop and priests celebrated Mass in the evening.

Driving back to Manila afterward, we told ourselves how lucky we were to be welcomed in this beautiful town of Malolos by no less than the Bishop himself.

Msgr. Macario Manahan and Fr. Rodolfo "Boy" Cruz undertook the awesome task of writing "Hagonoy sa Taon ng Hubileo 2000." It is a "must read" if only for the town natives, Bulake¤os and historians who are fascinated by the origin of Hagonoy and the evangelization of the people during the Spanish time. The shrine of St. Anne is a beautiful site for a pilgrimage. Her image is much larger than the one in Sta. Ana Church in Manila.

Two years ago, I wrote about the parish of Saints Peter and Paul in barrio Calungusan in Orion, Bataan. The people are blessed with an indefatigable priest who does not give up. Fr. Jun Villanueva began with nothing except his faith that God will provide and He did.

Today, Father Jun is happy to report that the people themselves are building their church by dropping piso-piso every day. The parishioners are mostly fishermen and farmers. According to Father Jun, even the jeepney and tricycle drivers give a peso a day. Isn't that something?

Father Jun says: "After almost two years, we were able to gather about 4 million pesos so we were able to start the construction. Although we still need another 4 million pesos to finish the church, we are happy because everyone has his share."

If you are interested in Father Jun's tape of songs, "Sa Piling Mo," you can write him to order at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Calungusan, Orion, Bataan 02102.

Villa Domingo Renewal Center

The Papal Nuncio Antonio Franco will bless the Villa Domingo Renewal Center on April 8 at 8:30 a.m. in Maddarulug, a barrio of Solana town, which you pass if you're going to Piat, Cagayan. Named after Archbishop Emeritus Domingo, the center will be the site of the first seminar on the roles of the different commissions running the various structures of the archdiocese.

Best wishes Archbishop Talamayan

April 10 is the 16th anniversary of Cagayan Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan as archbishop and also the 92nd anniversary of the archdiocese. On that day, seminarian Jose Aggabao of Enrile, Cagayan will be ordained deacon.

Seminarian needs help

Roque de la Peņa needs help to be able to continue his studies at the St. Camillus College Seminary. He wants to become a priest so he can serve the poor and sick members of the church. You can write to him at the St. Camillus College Seminary, 17 Apitong St., Marikina Heights 1800 Marikina City.

New deacons

The Order of the Servants of Mary have new deacons: Allan Ma. Satur, Nady Maria Meren and Roger Ma. Tondo. They were ordained April 6 by Bishop Jesse Mercado at the Church of St. Peregrine Laziosi in Tunasan, Muntinlupa.

Congratulations, Christian

A young reader of mine, Christian Rillera, who is in second year college, is a consistent honor student. Congratulations and keep up the good work.

Pauline's sale

The Pauline's Communication Center is holding a first anniversary sale. Pauline products are available at a 60-percent discount. The sale is ongoing until April 25. For more info, please call Sister Mercy or Sister

Josephine at (+63 2) 831-6420/1771. Pauline's Center is located on FB Harrison Avenue, near the Philippine School of the Deaf and Blind.

An adoration chapel at Pauline's Center is now open on Mondays. It is a place for deep prayer and meditation.

Escriva's canonization

The latest I heard is that at least 200 people have signed up in various travel agencies to go to Rome for the canonization of Blessed Josemaria Escriva.

Raymond Javellana of Travel and Parcel Corner is arranging the itinerary of some Opus Dei members and devotees of Escriva. From Rome, pilgrims can proceed to Lourdes, France, or Florence and Assisi or to Pamplona and Madrid. Those interested can call Raymond at (+63 2) 826-1408/7563.


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