The Santo Domingo Parish celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary – La Naval de Manila last Sunday, October 8th. The Fiesta Mass held at 3PM that afternoon was presided by Most Reverend Honesto F. Ongtioco D.D., the local ordinary of the Diocese of Cubao, to which the national shrine is a part of.
During the homily, Bishop Nes expounded on this year’s La Naval de Manila theme: “Maria, Ina ng Kristiyanong Sambayanan.” He talked about the power of prayer, and recalled how the Virgin Mary’s powerful intercession assured victory to the Spanish and Filipino forces against the Dutch invaders during the Battles of La Naval de Manila.
Bishop Nes also reminded the faithful that: “The family that prays together stays together. A nation in prayer is a nation in peace. And, a world in prayer is a world at peace.”
The solemn grand procession followed after the Mass. The La Naval celebration was preceded by novena Masses from September 29 to October 7, along with the enthronement of the miraculous image of Our Lady last September 28.
The Great Lady of the Philippines
The Battles of La Naval de Manila were a series of five naval battles fought in the waters of the Philippines in the year 1646, in which the forces of Spain repelled various attempts by forces of the Dutch Republic to invade Manila, during the Eighty Years' War. The Spanish forces, which included many native Kapampángan volunteers, consisted of two, and later, three Manila galleons, a galley and four brigantines. They neutralized a Dutch fleet of nineteen warships, divided into three separate squadrons. Heavy damage was inflicted upon the Dutch squadrons by the Spanish-Kapampángan forces, forcing the Dutch to abandon their invasion of the Philippines.
The victories against the Dutch invaders were attributed by the Spanish and Kapampángan troops to the intercession of the Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila.
On 9 April 1652, the victories in the five sea battles were declared a miracle by the Venerable Dean and Chapter and Ecclesiastical Governor in the vacant See of the Metropolitan Church of Manila, after a thorough canonical investigation, giving rise to the centuries-old festivities of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila.
Pious believers also credit the miraculous icon with maintaining the Catholic faith in Philippines, which has the religious moniker "El Pueblo Amante de María" ("The People Beloved of Mary"). Pope Pius X granted the image a Canonical Coronation on 5 October 1907. The Philippine government designated the icon and its shrine as a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines in 2009, making it one of the country's Cultural Properties. In October 1973, Our Lady of La Naval was formally declared the patroness of Quezon City, at that time the national capital. Filipino Archbishop Mariano Gaviola declared her Patroness of the Philippine Navy in 1975, a patronage invoked until this day.
The feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – La Naval de Manila (Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario- La Naval de Manila) is celebrated every second Sunday of October.