Our Lady of Peñafrancia

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Our Lady of Peñafrancia
Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia
Peñafrancia Original Image.jpg
Queen of Bicolandia
Patroness of Bicol
Ina
Honored in
Roman Catholic Church
Major shrine Peñafrancia Basilica
St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral of Naga
Peñafrancia Shrine
San Francisco Church, Naga
Attributes Wooden statue
Aureola with 12 stars
Crowns for the Blessed Mother and the Holy Child
"Manto" or the cloak opened wide
Patronage Sick, the Bicol region, the Afflicted

Our Lady of Peñafrancia (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia in the Philippines, and Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia or Virgen de la Peña de Francia in Spain) is a wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Philippines patterned after the one in Peña de Francia (Salamanca, Spain). Millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists arrive in Naga City — also known as the Pilgrim City and the Queen City of the Bicol region — in the Philippines every September for nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Principal Patroness and Queen of Bicol who is endearingly addressed by Bicolanos as Iná (mother). The shrine in Naga gathers more than five million devotees every year and is known as one of the biggest Marian pilgrimage sites in the world.

History of Our Lady of Peñafrancia[edit]

In Salamanca, Spain[edit]

On September 4, 1401, in the city of Paris, capital of France, a child was born to pious and religious parents, Rolan and Barbara. He was christened Simon. The family was quite well off, and their property was more than sufficient to maintain a family of four. Early in his youth, however, Simon despised wealth although his parents could well afford his wishes. When his parents and his only sister died, Simon inherited all their property. To avoid trouble, which he thought might ensue from his possession of such wealth, he sold his patrimony and donated the proceeds to the Church, the poor and the destitute, as well as to charitable institutions. He then applied for a position as a chamber boy in the convent of a Franciscan church in Paris.

Simon would frequent the church and spend hours in prayer before the altar of the Virgin Mary. Many times, in his deep meditation, he would ask the Holy Virgin to inspire him in what he might do to please her. Once, while he was absorbed in spiritual contemplation of the beauty of the Holy Mother, he lost consciousness. His prayer was answered for he heard a clear voice that tried to rouse him from slumber: “Simon, wake up; be on the watch…. From now on your name will be Simon Vela. Go to Peña de Francia west of this country, and there you will find the shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary".

For five (5) years Simon Vela traveled far and wide among caves, hills and mountains, in search of Peña de Francia but he could not find the place. He wanted to give up the search, and was in fact already on his way back to Paris, when one night he heard the same voice once more saying: “Simon, do not give up the search; do not give up what you have begun. Persevere and your labors will be recompensed.” This suddenly buoyed up his spirits and so he resumed his search the next day.

Simon went to the Church of Santiago de Galicia. And while he was passing the market place of Salamanca, he saw two men quarreling. One was seriously wounded and fell at Simon’s side. The offender was caught by the crowd who milled around them and he brazenly remarked: “Had I killed my enemy, I would have escaped to Peña de Francia where no one, not even the king, could find me.” Simon was overjoyed when he heard this for now he knew that such a place did actually exist.

Several hours afterwards he resumed his way to the church of San Martin. On his way he met a man selling charcoal. Simon asked the man where he came from, and the man said he came from a place called Peña de Francia. This was the second time that Simon heard the name of the place mentioned. He then begged the man to guide him to the place called Peña de Francia but for some reason the latter refused to do so.

Simon traced the road through which he thought the man has passed. He then reached a villa called San Martin de Castañar on May 14, 1434. He went to church and after the mass, he asked a man to kindly indicate where Peña de Francia was. The man took Simon Vela to a place some distance from the church and pointed to him a hill in the far distance saying that the hill was the Peña de Francia he was looking for. Simon was very grateful and thanked God for having found the man who showed him the place of his dream.

Simon then set out for the place indicated and, after a long weary journey, came to a steep rocky hill. By this time, his supply of provisions had been depleted and he was beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. The climb over the hill had considerably weakened him, but he was not disheartened because he knew deep within him that God had not forsaken him to a fruitless and useless search. And indeed how right he was for on the road otherwise abandoned he found a packet containing a loaf of bread and piece of meat. This relieved him so much until night overtook him and he sought shelter in a cave. Inside he prayed for guidance and soon he was lost in deep slumber.

Early in the morning of the next day, Simon began the search for the shrine in every cave where he had slept the night before. He felt distressed and discouraged for his seemed as distant as it was when he started. He knelt and prayed for strength and courage.Soon, he heard the same voice he had previously heard resounding clearly through the cave: “Simon, be awake: do not sleep.” Simon continued the search with more zeal in the morning of the next day. At a distance on a rocky hill, he saw a glaring and dazzling light filling the place with its brilliance. Trembling with joy, he approached it and there he found the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus in her arms sittings on a golden throne. He Knelt before her and prayed with all the fervor of his soul. The ecstatic Simon said, “Oh, Lady, the dream of my soul, the inspiration of men and women! My labors are now ended. Many years have I traveled far and wide to seek you and to drink in the beauty of your eyes! Do not forsake me: be my protection.”

In sympathy for Simon, the Lady answered: “Simon, rejoice! Your constancy will be rewarded. Your dream will be realized. Your labors are now ended. Take heed and keep in your heart what I wish you to do. Dig in this spot and take what you can see and place it on the summit of this rocky hill. Build on this hill a beautiful dwelling. You are to begin it and others will come to finish it.. This must come to pass as it has been the wish of my child.” Then the Lady suddenly disappeared and Simon was left standing alone and rooted in the spot with wonder and awe.

On the morning of May, 1434, on the spot where the apparition of the Holy Virgin disappeared, Simon began the work of digging and excavating. He, however, heard the same voice again saying: “Simon, do not attempt to undertake that big task alone. Undertake it in the presence and with the help of two, three, or more persons.” Evidently this was to avert any doubt or suspicion from people as to a veracity of the miracle and the credibility of Simon. So Simon went to San Martin del Castañar, a nearby town from the spot, and asked five men to help him. They were Anton Fernandez, Pascual Perez, Benito Sanchez, Juan Hernandez and Antonio Sanchez, the parish scribe of the place.

These men thought that they were digging for hidden treasure but they were informed that they were going to dig for the objects worthier than world goods their hearts could cherish. They dug unceasingly, clearly following directions from divine inspiration. Finally, on May 19, 1434, after removing a huge stone, they found embedded among the rocks, the most coveted image of the Holy Virgin with the Child in her arms.

In Naga City, Philippines[edit]

According to locals, a Spanish government official from Peñafrancia, Spain, a native of San Martin de Castañeda, settled with his family in Cavite in 1712. One day, Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, a son of that Spanish official and a seminarian studying at the Universidad de Santo Tomas, Manila became seriously ill. He and his family prayed to Our Lady of Peñafrancia whose picture he clutched to his breast as he hoped for recovery. Miguel vowed that if cured, he would construct a chapel on the banks of the Pasig River in Manila, in gratitude to Her. Miraculously cured, he was ordained a priest not in Manila but in the Ciudad de Nueva Caceres (now Naga City) by Bishop Andres Gonzalez.

To fulfill his vow, Padre Miguel, the first diocesan priest to be ordained in Naga, did two things. First, he mobilized the natives along the slopes of Mt. Isarog to construct a chapel made of local materials, nipa and bamboo by the banks of the Bikol river in Naga, not by the Pasig river as earlier envisioned. Second, he ordered a local artisan to carve an image patterned after the picture of Our Lady he always carried with him. Miracles happened then and there. One miraculous story involved a dog that was killed so that its blood could be used to paint the newly carved image of Our Lady. Dumped into the river, the dog came back to life and began to swim again, an event witnessed by hundreds of people. News of many other miracles spread fast, and so did public devotion to Nuestra Senora de Peñafrancia. A letter sent by Padre Miguel to the Dominican Fathers of Salamanca, Spain in 1712 reported numerous miracles through the intercession of Our Lady. In the meantime, the devotees grew in number as the devotion spread far and wide, even outside the Diocese of Nueva Caceres, which comprised the Bikol region and Marinduque. Like the biblical mustard seed, the Peñafrancia devotion today has borne fruit and now resembles a giant tree whose branches extend to other parts of the world, including the rest of Asia, Australia, the Americas and Europe. The love story between our Lady of Peñafrancia, whom we lovingly call "Ina," and us, her children, is never ending.

Other history[edit]

The Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of Peñafrancia[edit]

The official coronation of Our Lady of Peñafrancia as Patroness of Bicolandia took place on September 20, 1924, officiated by the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Guillermo Piani, their Apostolic to the Delegate. The image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia enshrined in her sanctuary on Calle Balatas is approximately 275 years old. It is an ancient statue that has become an object of desire for some collectors of antiques.

The image of Ina was stolen[edit]

On the morning of August 15, 1981, this miraculous image was stolen from her shrine at the Peñafrancia Church. The entire region was shocked by this news and every devotee of Our Ina could not believe that such a dastardly and sacrilegious act could be perpetuated. Immediately a network for the massive search of the image was military and civilians alike. In the course of following leads to the theft, a policeman was killed and a police lieutenant was wounded when the jeepney they were riding in were ambushed by heavily armed men somewhere in Bolo Sur, Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

It seemed that the search would be futile altogether and people almost resigned to the sorry fate of having lost a most beloved image. Most of the leads proved to be hoaxes. The approaching feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia necessitated an image to be borne during the "traslacion" or transfer of image and the colorful fluvial procession. One was commissioned by church authorities and another image was donated by the First Lady.

The recovery of the image of Ina[edit]

A little over a year later, the region was shocked, with equal unbelief, with the news that the image has been returned to Rt. Rev. Msgr. Florencio Yllana, P.A., Liaison Officer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and former Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia here in Naga City. On September 8, 1982, Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, the motorcade from Manila bearing the Image arrived in Naga City at the height of Typhoon Ruping. The inclement weather did not deter thousands of devotees who braved the raging winds and the devastating floods to welcome the image of Our beloved Ina. At 10:00 in the evening of the same day, the image was safely enshrined at the Metropolitan Cathedral where a pontifical concelebrated mass offered in thanksgiving for the return and safe arrival of the image.

The image is now enshrined at the Basilica Minore at Calle Balatas in the City of Naga. She has returned to her flock and her people have gratefully built her a home worthy of her dignity, honor, and maternal position.

Devotion[edit]

Our Lady of Peñafrancia replica at San Juan de Dios Hospital.

The feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is celebrated on the third Saturday & Sunday of September in Naga City, Bicol Philippines. All roads and routes will lead to Naga City in Camarines Sur where six million Bicolanos from here and abroad will flock to that progressive city to pay honor to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, miraculous patroness of the Bicol Region. Bicolanos from all walks of life will be in Naga City to meet their relatives and partidarios, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and most of all, to pay homage and make thanksgiving to the Virgin of Peñafrancia, whom the Bicolanos fondly call Ina. Viva la Virgen, they will shout to high heavens. The feast day is headed by a novena, nine days of prayer, in honor of the Virgin. On the first day, the image of the Virgin, a copy of the Madonna in Peñafrancia, Spain, is brought from its shrine to the Naga Cathedral where the novena is held. On the last day, the image is returned to her shrine following the Naga River route. The colorful evening procession is lit by thousands of candles from followers in boats escorting the image. When the flatboat reaches its destination, the devotees shout "Viva la Virgen" (Long live the Virgin!) and the image is carried back in a procession to the cathedral. Millions of Bicolanos will once again show to the whole Christian world their strong faith and loyalty to their Heavenly Mother. amongst triumphant sounding shouts of Viva la Virgen, Bicolanos and pilgrims, with lighted candles in their hands, will kneel on the ground and bow their heads in prayer as the colorful fluvial procession carrying the Virgin plows through the Bicol River in downtown Naga.

A multicolored pagoda carrying the images/icons of the Virgin of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro will pass through the Bicol River. Male, sunburned devotees of the Virgin will adhere to the huge pagoda in a heartwarming display of faith and devotion. Actually, the fluvial procession marks the return of the Virgin from the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral to her home shrine at the Basilica. Upon its arrival, the Virgin will be received in formal religious rites by Roman Catholic dignitaries of the Bicol Region led by Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez.

Considered the biggest and most popular religious event in the Philippines, the Peñafrancia fiesta is in fact a one-week affair that starts on the second Friday of September when the miraculous Ina is transferred from her shrine to the centuries-old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral where a nine-day novena and prayers are held in her honor. Ranking government officials, Cabinet members, ambassadors, governors, mayors, senators, diputados, business/industry leaders, landlords, etc., vie for the distinct honor of sponsoring a nightly novena and prayers at the Naga Cathedral.

Events in its Festivity[edit]

Fluvial Procession during Penafrancia Festival on the eve of the feast of Nstra Sra. De Penafrancia.

Novenario to the Divino Rostro[edit]

The festivities begin in a nine-day novenario to the Divino Rostro or "the Holy Face" or "Divine Face". The divino Rostro is brought to the old Peñafrancia Shrine, the old home of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, via a procession, and stays there for nine days of novenario. The novenario usually centers on the sick, and the faith in the power of Jesus.

Traslacion[edit]

The second Friday of September marks the feast day of the Divino Rostro after his nine days of novena at the shrine. Bishops and delegates from other dioceses attend the grand mass concelebrated by Archbishops in the Philippines, outside the shrine to commemorate the feast of the Divino Rostro.

During dawn, the image of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia is transferred to her old home for the Traslacion in the afternoon. After the procession, a Community and Thanksgiving Mass is celebrated to honor the arrival of Ina. After the mass, the Grand Pontifical Mass, celebrated by Archbishops around the Philippines, is celebrated to commemorate the feast day of the Divino Rostro.

During noon, the Traslacion begins from the procession of the students, delegates from other regions, teachers, government officials, and other professions while the images are being prepared for the procession.

A mass is celebrated before the Traslacion while the people flock for the main procession. After the mass, the Divino Rostro leaves the shrine and heads to the Cathedral at a very slow pace. After a recital of the Holy Rosary, or sometimes two recitals, depending the distance and speed from the Divino Rostro, the Our Lady of Peñafrancia follows and moves at a very slow pace, somewhat slower than the Divino Rostro.

After 2 hours or three hours, the image of the Divino Rostro arrives at the Cathedral, and after an hour, the image of Ina arrives at the Cathedral. A Solemn Pontifical Mass is celebrated after the procession, outside the Cathedral.

After the mass, the nine-day novenario for Ina begins inside the Cathedral.

The Novenario to the Our Lady of Peñafrancia[edit]

After the Traslacion, the nine-day novena to the Our Lady is held inside or sometimes outside the Cathedral. Millions of devotees come to the Cathedral for the novenario, praying for the divine intercession of Ina to her son, that their prayers be heard and be fulfilled. The novenario is said to have healed countless devotees, even the Bishop himself, celebrating the novena is healed. The novena centers around Mary's intercession to Jesus as we make our way, closer, and nearer to him.

Parades[edit]

Different parades are held during the nine-day novena to the Our Lady.


During the Saturday, after the Traslacion, the majorettes, CAT, and the Drum and Lyre, exhibits their skills in dancing and playing the instruments.

Tuesday, before the Fluvial Procession, the Regional Cheer-dance Competition is held at the Plaza Quezon, almost all of the schools in Bicol participated in this long, but very entertaining event.

Wednesday, the Boy Scouts, and Girls Scouts, including the Drum and Lyre, and majorettes from different elementary schools in Bicol parade in the daylong, BSP/GSP Drum and Lyre parade and competition.

Thursday, the most engrand Civic Parade of the Government workers, and different associations, and organizations in Bicol, and the Float Parade that is joined by hundreds of floats, honoring Ina.

Friday, the most awaited,and the century-old military parade, participated by all High Schools, and College Schools in Bicol, including the Philippine Constabulary, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, parade in the major streets of Naga City. It is considered to be the longest parade outside Manila due to its daylong, sometimes reaches nighttime, parade.

Fluvial Procession[edit]

A fluvial procession at the end of the novena caps the feast. The image is carried in a pagoda (the Filipino term for a decorated shrine-barge, usually with more than one tier, used in fluvial processions) on its return journey to the basilica, where a Pontifical Mass is held. Along the route, people shout "¡Viva La Virgen!"

The image is surrounded by a battalion of exclusively male devotees, for Bicolano folk custom holds that no woman, Filipina or foreigner, may board the barge with the Virgin as this will surely spell disaster.

The Tercentenary Celebration[edit]

The image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia at the Quadricentennial Arch in Naga Metropolitan Cathedral during the Tercentenary Celebration of the devotion.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims, devotees, tourists come to Naga City, Philippines every September for a nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the Patroness of Bicol, endearingly addressed by Bicolanos as INA (mother). The festivities begin with the famous Traslacion procession during which the images of the Lady of Peñafrancia and the Divino Rostro (Holy Face) are brought by barefooted male voyadores from the Basilica through the main streets of the city to the Cathedral. This procession, which usually lasts for 4 hours, is participated in by thousands of devotees from all over Bicol and other parts of the country. The devotion started three hundred years ago, in 1710, when Fr. Miguel Robles de Covarrubias had an image carved, a chapel built and processions held in honor of the miraculous image of the Virgin of Peñafrancia on account to the many favors he received through the help of the Virgin, especially pertaining to his health. Since then the devotion has grew and has even reached abroad. Devotees’ accounts of healing and favors received through her intercession are a reason for the spread of the devotion. Many have come to Naga as curious visitors and left as devotees of the Virgin. In 2010, the devotion shall mark its 300th year.

The Archdiocese of Caceres has outlined a three-year preparation for the tercentenary with each year centered on a particular theme and objective.

Year 1 (September 2007 to September 2008 ) whose theme is “Remembering the Gift of the Devotion to Ina”, will be dedicated to revisiting the history of the devotion in view of a deeper understanding of the same devotion.

Year 2 (September 2008 to September 2009) whose theme is “Renewing the Faith through Ina”, will be dedicated to appreciating the devotees’ giftedness towards a more vibrant and relevant faith life.

In Year 3 (September 2009 to September 2010) whose theme is “Sharing the Future in Hope”, will be dedicated to envisioning the future with the intent of sharing the fruits of the devotion to the next generations.

Year 2010 (September 2010), the church in Bicol will celebrate in thanksgiving the grace of 300 Years of Devotion. The over-all theme of the celebration is “A Gift received, a Gift to share” (Balaog inako, Balaog itao).

Hymn[edit]

The "Himno a la Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia" or "Resuene Vibrante" as Bicolanos call it is the official hymn of the devotees to the Lady of Bicolandia composed by Fr. Maximo Huguera, CM in the year 1924. This was translated to Bikolano by Fr. Jesus Esplana and Fr. Sohl Saez.

Nowadays, the full Spanish text of the hymn is not anymore sang. An example of this is the one in YouTube.

But after 2010(the Tercentenary celebration) the full Spanish text is once again sang. Sample is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6J9qIHS7lw.

Spanish text[edit]

Coro:

Resuene vibrante el himno de amor
Que entona tu pueblo con grata y emoción
Resuene vibrante el himno de amor
Que entona tu pueblo con grata emoción
Patrona del Bicol, Gran Madre de Dios
Se siempre la Reina de Nuestra Región
Patrona del Bicol, Gran Madre de Dios
Se siempre la Reina de Nuestra Región.

Estrofa I:

Los ríos murmuran tu nombre al correr
Los montes proclamán tu gloria y poder
El pueblo creyente con gozo te ve
Te canta amoroso y besa tu pie
El pueblo creyente con gozo te ve
Te canta amoroso y besa tu pie.

Estrofa II:

Patrona del Bicol altar del amor
Reliquia bendita que el cielo nos dio
Escucha benigna del pueblo el clamor
Que acude a tu Templo con fé y devoción
Patrona del Bicol altar del amor
Reliquia bendita que el cielo nos dio
Escucha benigna del pueblo el clamor
Que acude a tu Templo con fé y devoción.

Estrofa III:

Los pobres y tristes te buscan con fé
Te miran llorando les miras también
Al punto sus lagrimas se truscan en bien
Y a casa gozosos les vemos volver
Los pobres y tristes te buscan con fé
Te miran llorando les miras también
Al punto sus lagrimas se truscan en bien
Y a casa gozosos les vemos volver

Bicol text[edit]

I
Maski an kasalogan, Sambit an si'mong ngaran
Maski an kabukiran, Ika an rokyaw.
Kami si'mong aki, Pano' nin kaogmahan
Si'mong nangangako, Ika kamo'tan.
Kami si'mong aki, Pano' nin kaogmahan
Si'mong nangangako, Ika kamo'tan.

Chorus:
Awiton an awit nin pagkamoot
Sa saimo samuyang idinodolot
Awiton an awit nin pagkamoot
Sa saimo samuyang idonodolot.
Patrona nin Bikol, Ina ka nin Dios
Magdanay na Reina nin samuyang region,
Patrona nin Bikol, Ina ka nin Dios
Magdanay na Reina nin samuyang region.

II
Patrona nin Bikol, Inang mamomo'ton
Pamanang banal, Balaog nin Dios.
Pakihimatea mga inagrangay, Kan si'mong banwaan
na napaalaw.
Patrona nin Bikol, Inang mamomo'ton
Pamanang banal, Balaog nin Dios.
Pakihimatea mga inagrangay, Kan si'mong banwaan
na napaalaw.

References[edit]

External links[edit]