Balanga, 30 June 2011
“There is your mother” (John 19:26)
Through the years of her arrival in 1587 heavenly favors were experienced and graces were received. According to oral accounts, it was very much accepted that the Spanish Dominicans brought “a mother” to the people of this place. And this “mother” performed continuous and constant miracles for them. As the years passed by, this “mother” became known as Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario del Pueblo de Orani.
Isn’t it that in the years gone by, the people of Orani have always had a bountiful harvest? Aren’t the crabs and shrimps of Orani stand out from the rest of the country? Isn’t Orani always spared from the red tide? It is because of the presence of the Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario de Pueblo de Orani whom we now devotedly call Our Lady of the Holy Rosary?
From the annals of history, it is worthwhile remembering these two significant miracles. First was during the so called “five battles of La Naval de Manila on March 15 to October 04, 1647.” There was an on-going war between Spain and Netherlands. On June 22, 1647 the superior Dutch armada sailed to Bataan and poised to attack the towns of Samal and Abucay. The Dutch had six boats and same numbers of barges. Outnumbered and with rudimentary artilleries, yet the brave people of Pampanga and Bataan stood their ground. The women, old people and children gathered together in Orani and ardently prayed to their “mother” for protection and asked her for a miracle. Their prayer was answered. The miracle was granted. Three ships of their enemies were sunk. And the Dutch invaders sailed away.
Second was the locust plague of 1718. Locust invaded the whole central Luzon especially Pampanga and Bulacan. But the whole province of Bataan was spared and saved. The people of Bataan trustingly turned to their Virgen Milagrosa for her maternal and miraculous protection. She lovingly intervened. And there came a strong wind which swept and drown the invading locust sto the sea.
There are still many personal and communal experiences of divine intervention through the assistance of Virgen Milagrosa. Even at the present time Virgen Milagrosa provides and performs miracles to her devoted and faithful children who come to her and invoke her maternal intercession.
We must be forever grateful to our dearest “mother”. Let us manifest our filial respect and love. Let us give her our obedience. And we must appreciate her maternal protection and gracious assistance. Our dearest Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario del Pueblo de Orani is always with us, and for us. She comes to us, visits and does miracles things for us. The caring presence of our Virgen Milagrosa, Our Lady of Holy Rosary enhances comfort, gives consolation and is truly an assurance of safety. And she brings us to Jesus, and Jesus to us. As our Virgen Milagrosa affirms “the Mighty One has done great things for me” (Luke 1,49), Jesus through her intercession will also do marvelous things for us. And right now she is assuring us of these miraculous deeds because “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).
In gratitude and in appreciation of her miraculous intercession and in order to remember always her grace-filled interventions in our daily life, the clergy and religious of the Diocese of Balanga solidly and strongly decided to enact the following events as Marian spiritual and pastoral program of the Diocese:
1. The First Saturday of October is Marian dawn procession to Our Lady of Holy Rosary in Orani. The parishioners from the First and Second Districts of Bataan will meet at the boundaries in Samal and in Hermosa at four o’clock in the morning. And from those designated meeting places we will walk in procession towards Our Lady of Holy Rosary Parish Church in Orani. We will pray the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary on the way. And at five o’clock is the celebration of the Holy Mass.
2. Every Second Saturday of every month is Pilgrimage Holy Mass at the Our Lady of Holy Rosary Church. We will promote and encourage monthly pilgrimage to Our Lady of Holy Rosary by designating two parishes and Diocesan Schools for each month. The celebration of Holy Mass is at 12:00 noon. it is also good that every Barangay and Sitio in Orani will be assigned to a specific month for their Pilgrimage.
3. The First Sunday of October will be designated as General Alumni Homecoming of Holy Rosary Parochial Institute. This is organized for the nationwide promotion of the devotion to the Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario del Pueblo de Orani.
With these spiritual and pastoral activities. we are giving to our Blessed Mother Mary, whom we lovingly implore Our Lady of Holy Rosary, what is due to her. And so let us love her with the love of her Son Jesus. Let us accept her with the caring acceptance of Saint Joseph. Let us respect her with the reverence of the archangel Gabriel. Let us honor her with the homage of her cousin Elizabeth. Let us fulfill what she advises us “do whatever he tells” (John 2:5).
+Ruperto Cruz Santos DD
Bishop of Balanga
Msgr. Victor Ocampo