Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Faithful Pray for Miracles in Manaoag

The following article appeared on Manila regarding miracles associated with the Blessed Mother with her title of Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario:

Faithful, tourists pray for miracles in Manaoag - Manila Bulletin


Centuries after the Virgin Mary appeared before a farmer with an infant in her left arm and a rosary in her right hand in the town of Manaoag, local and foreign tourists continued to flock to the Shrine of Our Lady of Most Holy Rosary in Pangasinan, one of the most visited shrines in the country and in Asia.

Every second week of April, during the celebration of the feast of Manaoag, devotees arrive in droves to the area to venerate the Blessed Mother under the title of Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario, whose image was brought to the Philippines from Spain by the Acapulco. The image was canonically crowned in 1926.

This year’s pilgrimage started last April 15 and will last until May, and continues the tradition of faith, miracles and healing since the 1500s.

The tradition of the Manaoag originated from the story of a man who heard a mysterious voice of a lady calling him. When he turned around, he saw a lady dressed in white standing atop a cloud covering the treetop. The man in the story fell on his knees at the vision. The name of Manaoag stemmed from the word “Taoag” is the local term which means “call.” Thus, Manaoag means “She calls.”

Many devotees have claimed to be witnesses to the Manaoag’s miracles. It is said that the jewels attached to the image of the Blessed Virgin of Manaoag were donated by people whose sicknesses were healed. Some of the stories also pointed to the Virgin Mother as their savior from calamities and invasion by other tribes.

Modern day devotees believe that the water from the well near the church possesses healing powers, most of them bringing water containers during their visits to drink or use it for bathing.

Others believe that simply touching the Virgin’s image’s mantle can cure them of their illnesses and uplift them from their troubles. Lining up for hours, they light candles to pray, recite the Holy Rosary, and thank the Holy Mother for blessings.

During the pilgrimage period, masses and novenas are held daily from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. in honor of the Blessed Mother. Roughly half a million pilgrims arrive annually.

In 2008, the late Pope John Paul II who is known as the “Marian Pope” and the “Pope of the Rosary” for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary said that the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery.”

“As we pray the Rosary, we contemplate on the mysteries of our redemption. We recall Christ’s life here on earth and reflect on His love for human beings,” he said.

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