MARIAN devotees flocked to the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City on Sunday for the Feast of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario-La Naval de Manila).
The feast started with a celebration of Holy Masses within the day and was highlighted by a solemn procession that started at 4:00 p.m.
The celebration was preceded by Novena masses, which were held from September 29 to October 7, along with a customary enthronement of the image of Our Lady and a Marian concert in the same church last Sept. 28.
Similar rites were held simultaneously in Angeles and Cavite City, as well as in other towns under the Holy Mother’s patronage.
The celebration of the Feast of La Naval de Manila was first held on Oct. 8, 1646 in Intramuros, Manila as the church leaders’ way of thanking her for her powerful intercession which helped end the bloody naval wars between the Dutch and the Filipino-Spanish forces.
According to the City Council of the Diocese of Manila, the soldiers sought divine assistance during the battles by praying the Holy Rosary.
The victories against the Dutch invaders were declared a miracle by the Archdiocese of Manila on April 9, 1652.
The image of La Naval was eventually transferred to a new shrine housed by the Santo Domingo Church in October 1954 to protect the statue. She was then declared in October 1973 the patroness of Quezon City, the national capital at the time.
“The Battles of La Naval was not just the bloody naval wars between the Dutch and the Filipino-Spanish forces…Those various battles were really one, concerned with the same eternal conflict between fate and freedom, and in each of those wars won through Our Lady’s intercession, the Rosary has always been wielded against the same enemy: hopelessness and despair,” National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin once said in his essay “La Naval de Manila”.
“[Mary] draws us to her son Jesus. Indeed, she calls us once again…For indeed, the La Naval was a galvanizing force for people then based on stories. In a sense, in whatever state our nation is, we only need to rekindle our love for [her],” devotee Antonio Fernandez said on Sunday.