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With flowers, songs in Tagalog and prayers for peace, children and adults honored Our Lady of Manaoag on October 1, 2017 at the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy in Vienna’s 10th District.
For Catholics worldwide, the month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. It is one of the major Marian feast days particularly for devotees of the Blessed Virgin Mary and believers of the significance and powers of the Holy Rosary.
The feast day of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag likewise falls in October and is consistently celebrated by Filipino migrants in Austria and probably throughout the world, particularly the natives of Manaoag, Pangasinan, a town which is about more than 100 miles north of Manila.
The original image of Our Lady of Manaoag is currently enshrined at the Heart of Jesus parish, Töllergasse 1210 Vienna.
Folk tradition says that many centuries ago, the Virgin Mary appeared in front of a middle-aged farmer in the Pangasinan province of the Philippines instructing him to build a church on a hill. The apparition and many miraculous signs started a devotion to the Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, otherwise known as Nuestra Señora de Manaoag.
The ivory image depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus in her left arm and a Rosary in her right hand.
In the 17th century, locals and tribes from the mountains resisted converting to Catholicism, resulting in Dominican friars spreading conversion by introducing Our Lady of Manaoag as a “powerful protectress” of the sick, helpless and needy. Since then, the Virgin Mary has been an instrument in fostering Filipino Catholic piety in that region.
The ivory image of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag – which depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus in her left arm and a Rosary in her right hand – is enshrined in the high altar of a church standing on a hilltop in Manaoag and is said to possess miraculous powers. The image was canonically crowned in 1926, meaning that the Vatican officially proclaimed that Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag had granted favors and blessings.
The town of Manaoag now receives thousands of pilgrims converging to attend Mass, pray the Rosary and offer flowers. The image is most visited during May and in October, when Mary is celebrated as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Pope Francis gave Our Lady of Manaoag Church, which has been under the care of the Philippine Dominican province, the title of “minor basilica” in February, 2015.
Last Sunday’s Mass was celebrated by Father Ely Dalanon, chaplain of the Filipino Catholic Community in Vienna.
Before the celebration on October 1, 2017, officers and members of the Association pangasinenses in Austria and other devotes held a nine day Novena in honor of Our lady of Manaoag. The congregation prayed the rosary and brought flowers to the replica of the image of Our Lady.
The Association of Pangasinenses in Austria and the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy in Vienna coordinated the event in an effort to celebrate the month of Mary and propagate Marian devotion.
“Our Lady of Manaoag is the patron saint of the province of Pangasinan and also of Filipinos, especially for immigrants,” one of the organizer of the religious event said.
Just like any other gatherings, the feast day celebration of our lady of Manaoag concluded with the partaking of food provided by the Association of Pangasineses in Austria and Our Lady of Manaoag devotees.
Hector Pascua, ABS-CBN News, Austria