I FOUND myself following in and joining the procession around Burnham-Legarda Barangay that ushered in the Mass in celebration of the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes!

The al-fresco Mass was held at the grounds of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church southwest of Burnham Lake with Reverend Father Benny Castaneda as celebrant, assisted by Parish Priest Reverend Father Mario Tambic and Reverend Father Matthew Dontogan.

The Gospel Reading was from John 2:1-11 about the wedding at Cana in Galilee where Mary, Mother of Jesus, practically started off her divine son in performing miracles by indirectly urging him to turn water into the best wine when the wine ran out at the wedding banquet.

“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee, and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.”

The Mass was followed by the blessing of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, a replica of the grotto (sanctuary) in Lourdes, France.

According to Wikipedia, the “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain (as it is most commonly known) is an area of ground surrounding the Catholic shrine (Grotto) to Our Lady of Lourdes in the town of Lourdes, France. The Sanctuary is a destination for pilgrimage; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water.”

The parish then served dinner to the faithful who attended the feast day celebration.

BBEG & Character City Council: Consecration Of Candidates

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” – Amos 5:24

Candidates running for the local elections in May trooped to the Dominican Heritage Retreat Center at Dominican Hill last Wednesday, February 6, for the “Consecration of Candidates.”

The well-attended forum was organized by the Baguio-Benguet Ecumenical Group (BBEG) and the Character City Council – Baguio (CCC-B).

In inviting participants to the event, the BBEG and the CCC-B had requested “partnership” with the Commission on Elections and the Department of Education to “a time of prayer, worship and a ‘commitment to a clean, honest and issue-based campaign’.”

Lasting over three hours, the “Consecration of Candidates” had the Reverend Florence M. Bugtong as the Worship Leader, and Reverend Father Manny Flores as Speaker.

The candidates joined the Worship Participants in the “Invocation in Unison”:

“Lord, Jesus, we ask Thee to guide the people of this nation as they exercise their dearly bought privilege of franchise.

“May it neither be ignored unthinkingly nor undertaken lightly.

“As citizens all over this land, go to the ballot boxes, give them a sense of high privilege and joyous responsibility.

“Help those who are about to be elected to public office to come to understand the real source of their mandate – a mandate given by no party machine, received at no polling booth, but given by God; a mandate to do good in the name of God under whom this country is established.

“We ask Thee to lead our country in the paths where Thou wouldst have her walk, to do the tasks which Thou hast laid before her.

“So we may together seek happiness for all our citizens in the name of the Creator who made us all equal in His sight and, therefore, brothers. Amen!!”

The “Dismissal and Benediction” was led by Bishop Reuel Norma Marigza with all the attending pastors, bishops and priests.

The BBEG is "a membership of different churches sharing a vision of Christian Unity committed to a prophetic witness in society, working for justice and peace, the respect of people's rights, especially religious freedom and the dialogue of cultures and the Christian Faith in Baguio and Benguet."

“Thoughts to Ponder” from the Consecration Program:

“Leadership is the disciple of deliberately exerting special influence within a group to move it toward goals of beneficial permanence that fulfil the group’s real needs.” – John Haggai