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|Our Lady of Manaoag (standard:Inspirational stories, 625 words)|
|Author: jopoguerrero||Added: Nov 27 2009||Views/Reads: 7359/0||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
I am not really a religion buff, but the loads of testimonies I have read about Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag awakened my curiosity bone. Thus, one early morning, I decided to pay a visit to the Lady of Manaoag. I can't deny that my trip to the shrine of the miraculous image was merely due to my raring nosiness natural for a reporter like me. But things in me changed after that visit. It was an ordinary weekday, no special religious event, no special celebration. I arrived there 4AM, an hour early for the first mass. I thought the church would still be empty and sleepy at that time but to my surprise, it was already buzzing with people. I sat at the back pew to observe. I was astounded actually, almost frightened of what I saw. Old people, obviously with arthritic joints, laboriously knelt while talking to the Lady of Manaoag oblivious of other people who might overhear their prayers. Younger ones also knelt their heads bowed and oftentimes shook with sighs and sobs. Others simply gazed at the image, calm yet prayerful. I have seen similar scenes in other churches, but it was my first time to witness such intensity of conversation with a miraculous image. The ambiance appeared so hallowed that I felt ashamed to be there just to quench my curiosity especially when I sensed that the Lady seemed to be fixedly watching my demeanor. The ivory image of the Lady of Manaoag was brought to the Philippines by Padre Juan de San Jacinto from Spain via Acapulco in early 1600s. Some historical documents narrate the story of a man who heard a mysterious voice calling on a hilltop. When he looked around, he saw the radiant Lady with a Rosary on her right hand and a Child on the left she was standing on a seemingly bright cloud. The man immediately fell on his knees. After telling the people of the apparition, a town quickly flourished in the place and was called Manaoag. According to tradition, the town itself was born from the Virgin's call, thus the term "taoag" meaning "to call" was used to name the town and right on the spot where the Lady appeared a church was built. Since then, the shrine became one of the most important centers of devotion in the country. Non-believers tried to destroy it, but to no avail even the multitude of lighted arrows of early pagans and the bombs of foreign invaders turned dud on the image. Many locals and foreigners professed a host of miracles from the Lady: a dead child was brought back to life, the sick amazingly recovered; the poor were saved from calamities; and the helpless were protected from ruthless. Consequently, the Lady of Manaoag is now recognized as the patroness of the sick, the needy and the helpless. At exactly 5AM, a Dominican priest said the Holy Mass which was attended by the ailing, the destitute and the powerless like me. After the mass, I followed the queue to the candle gallery, then to the upper room where you can actually touch the garment of the Lady of Manaoag. After a quick and gentle touch on the miraculous image, sad faces transformed into victorious auras, as if they have already received the answers to the petitions they whispered to the Lady. Smiles headlined their countenances, accentuated by grateful glows in their eyes. Such sudden positive dispositions, I believe, were miracles themselves. On my part, I also experienced a great miracle during that visit to Manaoag I was infused with the eagerness to visit the shrine again, not to quench my curiosity, but to give thanks to the Lady and Her Child. Tweet
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