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Ministry to Filipinos at 5125 S Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819 US - Our Lady of Antipolo (Birhen ng Antipolo)

Our Lady of Antipolo (Birhen ng Antipolo)
Patron Ng Kapayapaan At Mga Manlalakbay
Nuestra Senora De La Paz V Buen Viaje

During the months of May, June and July, the legendary and beautiful town of Antipolo, Rizal, becomes a haven of activity and life as thousands, from all over (including Filipino Balikbayans and foreigners), flock to this town among the hills. As the tune of native songs and burning candles fill the air, people come to the shrine of Our Lady of Antipolo, first, to pay homage and venerate the miraculous Virgin of Peace and Good voyage, and secondly to take a breather from the heat and dust of the summer months, and to savor Antipolo's refreshing mountain air, enjoy the amenities of the many resorts mushrooming around the city, and taste the local food and delicacies that would satisfy even the most discriminating palette.

The origin of the Virgin of Antipolo dates back to Spain's colonial rule of the Archipelago. It was the height of the galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico.

On March 25, 1626, Don Juan Nino de Tabora left the shores of Mexico aboard the galleon ship, El Almirante, to make its voyage to the Philippines. Governor Tabora, a devotee of the Blessed Virgin, brought along with him on board the ship, the image of Our Virgin Mother. During this voyage, the El Almirante safely and courageously sailed across the treacherous seas of the Pacific Ocean, arriving in the ports of Manila on July 18, 1626. Governor Tabora realized that the galleon's safe and successful journey was due to the presence of the image of the Virgin Mother on board the ship. Amidst the pompous celebration, pageantry and fireworks, there was a religious procession from the Church of San Ignacio, (the Jesuit Church in Intramuros), Manila, up to the Catholic Cathedral, which became the first house of the Blessed Virgin. Due to the events surrounding the safe voyage of the El Almirante, the Blessed Virgin was named Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

When Governor Tabora died in 1632, the image of the Blessed Virgin was given over to the care of the Jesuits for the Church of Antipolo. Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje was proclaimed ''Patroness of the Galleons.''

The statue crossed the Pacific Ocean six times: on the San Luis in 1648-1649- on the Encarnacion in 1650- on the San Diego in 1651- 1653; on the San Francisco Javier in 1659-1662; on the San Jose in 1746-1748 and on the Nuestra Senora del Pilar. The statue of Nuestra Senora de la. Paz y Buen Viaje was "canonically crowned'' on November 26, 1926, by the Most Rev. Michael J. O'Doherty, Archbishop of Manila, at Luneta, Manila, in the presence of thousands of devotees to the Blessed Virgin.

But why was the Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje called Our Lady of Antipolo?

After the death of Governor Tabora, the Jesuits, who were then constructing a church for Antipolo, decided to build a church in a nearby barrio of Santa Cruz, specifically intended for the Virgin. The attempts by the Jesuit fathers to move the Virgin to Santa Cruz was futile because the image would disappear and was always found perched on a branch of a 'tipolo' tree (artocapus incisa), which grew in the original site of the old church. Because of these manifestations, a pedestal was carved out of the 'tipolo' tree, and thus the Virgin became locally known as the Virgin of Antipolo.

During the Japanese occupation, the Virgin of Antipolo was evacuated to the mountains of Angono and Santolan. For a period of time, the image was housed in the Ocampo residence at Quiapo, until it was transferred to the Quiapo Church and stayed there until October 15, 1945, when it was finally transferred to its original and permanent sanctuary at the Church of Antipolo. Every year, devotees celebrate and commemorate this transfer with a procession known as the ''Alay Lakad.'' This procession starts from Quiapo Church at around 8:00 pm (30th of April), winding up at the National Shrine of Antipolo Cathedral around dawn of the following day (1st day of May).

Once again, we, the Filipino Community, in the Orlando Diocese and the whole State of Florida, extend our heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency, the Most Rev. Thomas G. Wenski, Bishop of Orlando, for spearheading this state-wide pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

This pilgrimage will be held at the Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe, during which, a concelebrated Mass will be officiated by Bishop Wenski as main celebrant, at 2:00 in the afternoon, July 24, 2005.

 

Rev. Felicito S. Baybay
Parochial Vicar
Holy Family Catholic Church
Orlando, FL

 

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