10 September 2010

Marian images featured in Subic festival

A motorcade featuring 22 Marian images went around the major thoroughfares in this free port and Olongapo City on Wednesday to highlight the week-long celebration of the birthday of the Blessed Mother here.

The celebration, spearheaded by the San Roque Chapel and the chaplaincy of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), started September 1 with the arrival of the 22 images owned by devotees from different parishes throughout Olongapo City and the province of Zambales.

The images were part of the “Lakbay Dasal” (prayer pilgrimage) program organized by the local faithful, said SBMA chaplain Fr. Audie Mozo.

While in the free port, the images were adopted by participating SBMA departments, business locators and religious organizations, which held daily prayers and prepared colorful floats for the birthday motorcade on Wednesday morning.

Fr. Mozo said that among the featured images were the Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla (Black Mother and Child), which was adopted by the SBMA Administrator’s Office; Our Lady of Expectation (the image of Mary as an expectant mother), adopted by the CFC Handmaids of the Lord; Our Lady of the Assumption, by Puregold Subic; Nuestra Señora de Esperanza, by Pier One; and Ina Poong Bato of Zambales, adopted by the Subic Montessori.

According to SBMA administrator Armand Arreza, the agency, through the San Roque chaplaincy, has promoted the observance of religious traditions in the Subic Bay Freeport and provided pastoral support to workers and residents, not only in the Freeport but also in nearby communities.

“This is why religious festivals and traditions such as Lenten and Easter activities, Christmas and Marian celebrations have also become tourist attractions in the Subic Freeport,” Arreza said.

“At the same time, these activities help provide the Subic community, especially the SBMA employees, with a well-rounded social life,” he added.

Fr. Mozon said meanwhile that this was the 12th year that the Subic Bay Freeport has been celebrating the birthday of the Blessed Mother, who is revered as protector of this former naval base.

In 2004, the entire Subic Bay was dedicated to the “Two Hearts” – the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. Mozo pointed out.

Subic Bay is also the home of the Marian Peace Regatta, which started in 2008 and draws thousands who witness the fluvial parade of Marian images and take part in the day-long worship and prayers. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

Some of the Marian images on display at the grounds of the San Roque Chapel in the Subic Bay Freeport.