Devotees set thanksgiving Mass at the Shrine of the Brown Madonna

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By Nars Padilla

Kafagway Roundup

Friday, March 14, 2014


MAMA Mary devotees of the Shrine of the brown Madonna along Km. 7, Asin Road have all the reasons to rejoice. The place of worship inside a man made rock cave received a face lift from benefactors led by Ms. Helen Aquino, President and General Manager of the Maximum Security and Services Corporation whose main office is based in Metro Manila. The other key officers of the establishment who supported the undertaking were her VP and treasurer Ms. Marina Pante and VP-Operations Officer Rodolfo Del Rosario. The Corporation, among others, operates Security Services in Batangas, Metro Manila, Cebu and a force at John Hay Reservation area. Over a month ago, my son Fritzgerald, security and safe manager of John Hay Management Corporation, introduced madam Helen and Marina to me when they visited the Shrine. Almost immediately after a brief historical note about the Shrine, the lady business executives offered to help in the further development and beautification of the place of worship, now enjoying its 28th year.

Last Monday Morning, a four-man cast of artists-painters from Batangas arrived and stayed at the Shrine. Under my humble supervision, Hernani, a brother of Helen, Joel Lualhati, Rueb Abag and Arnel Baisa diligently went to work with their brushes and paint. For at least 3 days, they painted the altar, the station of the cross and the Igorot Angel Tribal Dancer figurines and repainted the Mama Mary and Sto. Niño cement images and the set of benches inside and outside the Shrine. The metal grill entrance gate to the Shrine and the giant 10 Commandments Tablets prominently situated within the area were also given new paint coats. Again, here is our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our new found Shrine of the Brown Madonna patron-supporters. God Bless you and may your tribe increase; thank you also to Teacher Mike from the PHASES Learning Center for tents we used for sleeping quarters at the Shrine.

To acknowledge the added blessings for the Shrine’s further development, a Thanksgiving mass will be celebrated at the place next Sunday, March 23 at 7:30 in the morning. The celebrant is our NCCB and Shrine of the Brown Madonna spiritual adviser Reverend Father Domingo “German” Ledesma. The Holy Eucharist is also dedicated to the members of the high school graduating class of PHASES. Our granddaughter Leila Summer is with the group activities at the Shrine; The historic annual Filipino-Japanese friendship day celebration in the city and the clean and beautification and maintenance of the NCCB Projects honoring pioneer American officials who contributed in no small measure in the growth and development of Magandang Baguio. The edifices of interest include the Architect Daniel Burnham monument at Burnham Park and the monument of Col. Lyman Kennon beside the PCPO sub-station at the zigzag road viewpoint, among others. With utmost respect and admiration, Archt. Burnham is popularly known as the “planner of the City of Baguio”, while Col. Lyman owns the worldwide distinction as the “Builder of Kennon Road”, dubbed as the gateway to the Summer Capital of the Philippines and the wonderful land of the Cordilleras. Oh yes, a floral and candlelight ceremony spearheaded by couple-devotees Wilfredo and Brenda Lyson from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan, Jaime and Gladys from Nangalisan, Tuba, Benguet and Cita Bernal, directress of PHASES Learning Center will usher in the holy mass. We are reminding all NCCBers and Mama Mary devotees to join us celebrate, come March 23.

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Several days ago, NCCB Board member Dobie De Guzman and yours truly, and the City Social Welfare and Development Officer under Betty Fanagsan turned over to the city government the assorted canned goods collection of Silahis ng Pasko 2013 “Operation-Delata para sa kapwa.” For proper disposition benefiting the unfortunate victim of killer typhoon Yolanda which devastated many parts of Eartern Visayas last November 8. I understand that City Mayor Mauricio Domogan organized and sent a delegation to Tacloban City to deliver at least 2 truckloads of relief goods collected by the city authorities. Betty said that the city’s collection was turned over to a legitimate religious group for proper disposal in coordination with local government officials. “Operation Delata para sa Kapwa” consisted of 4,437 assorted canned goods donated by active event program participants of the NCCB-CSWDO Christmas Season offering. PHASES and the various Day Care Centers /pupils under CSWDO who starred in the December 1 SNP Children’s and Parent’s Mardi Gras started the drive. The PMA cadets Corp took over the driver seat on December 8, during the Annual PMA Cadet Day at the park held at Burnham Park. The winners of the PWD palaro and devotees of the Shrine of the Brown Madonna also gave their share. It was the bayanihan spirit of caring and sharing which proved them together in unison to support the cause. By the way, the youth participation in the operation was compassion in action, a timely bridge to citizenship training and character building. It was also an opportunity to share one’s happiness to make others happier.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 15, 2014.

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