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This great preacher initiated the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception and is known as the Saint of the Stations of the Cross

Leonard of Port Maurice                                               www.youtube.com

By Larry Peterson

Domenico Casanova was a ship captain, and he and his wife, Anna Maria Benza, lived in Port Maurice, a seaport near Genoa. On December 20, 1676, Anna gave birth to a son, and they named him Paul Jerome Casanova. Paul’s father was a devout Catholic and took the responsibility of teaching his four children the faith to heart,  using kindly diligence to teach them. Eventually, three of his sons entered the Franciscan Order, and his daughter became a nun.

When Paul was thirteen years old, he was sent to live with his uncle, Agostino, in Rome. This was done so Paul could study at the Jesuit Roman College located there. He was a very bright student and began the study of medicine. However, one day he visited the church connected to the Franciscan monastery of St. Bonaventure in Rome. He heard the choir singing, “Converte nos Deus, salutaris noster!” (convert us, O God, our salvation)!”

These words moved Paul, and he believed they were a call from heaven above to serve God. He decided against medicine and told his uncle his intentions. His uncle would not hear of this and sent him away. Paul was undeterred, and in 1697 he managed to join the Friars Minors. On October 2, 1697,  he received the habit and took the name, Brother Leonard. He went on to complete his studies at St. Bonaventure’s and was ordained a priest.

Leonard desperately wanted to go to China as a missionary and convert “pagans.” But he had health issues which included a delicate constitution and a  bleeding ulcer. He was sent to the monastery of the Franciscan Observants where he remained for four years until his health returned. There was a point where they all thought Leonard would die. But it is said that the Blessed Virgin interceded, and Leonard suddenly recovered.

He returned to ministry as a local preacher in the surrounding parishes. Leonard had such burning love of Jesus and Mary, combined with deep humility,  frequent acts of penance, and an unending charity to his neighbor that it came forth in his preaching, and soon, he had a reputation as one of the great preachers of the day.

Friar Leonard immersed himself in his new work as a parish missionary. He would soon be traveling all throughout Italy and Corsica preaching to the parishioners in different places. Italy was known for its lawlessness and danger, but Leonard was committed and, although often fearful of impending danger, looked it straight in the eye and moved from town to town.

Leonard’s austere life, his practice of continually doing penance and his constant prayer and innate humility, was apparent in his preaching. It was so powerful and forthright that he converted countless sinners bringing many back to and into the faith. He developed a following of missionary preachers and even had a retreat house built for them outside Florence. This was a haven for spiritual renewal, and here they could go and refresh and prepare themselves for the assignments ahead.

Back in Rome, Father Leonard founded several confraternities, including the Confraternity of the Sacred Heart. Everywhere he went, he taught people to say, “My Jesus, Mercy.” He mainly preached on Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the importance and power of the Stations of the Cross. For forty-three years he set up the Stations at 571 locations, including the Roman Colosseum. He had such love for the stations that today he is known as the Saint of the Stations of the Cross.

His most significant work might be considered his writings and preaching about the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin. He continually fostered devotion to the Immaculate Conception and insisted it should be proclaimed a dogma of faith. He attributed all his health and longevity to the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin. When Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of faith in 1854, much of his decision was based upon the work and words of Leonard of Port Maurice.

Pope Benedict XIV held Father Leonard in high regard and begged him to not die in any other city but Rome. This Leonard did on November 26, 1751. He was 74 years old. St. Alphonsus Ligouri called Leonard the “great missionary of the eighteenth century.”

Numerous miracles followed his passing, and Pope Pius VI, who had known him, beatified him in 1796. Pope Pius IX canonized Leonard on June 29, 1867. Pope Pius XI named St. Leonard of Port Maurice as the patron saint of all parish missionaries.

St. Leonard of Port Maurice, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

He will become the Third Saint from the Philippines: Meet Servant of God; Archbishop Teofilo Camomot

Archbishop Tefilo Camomot                                                     www.dst.ph

By Larry Peterson

Teofilo (the name means “Lover of God”) Camomot was born on March 3, 1914, in Talisay, Cebu, which is located in the center of the Philippines. He was the third child of Luis Camomot and Angela Bastida, who would eventually have eight children together. Teofilo was baptized the day after his birth and received his Confirmation one year later, on March 4, 1915.

Teofilo grew up in an environment supervised by gentle, loving, and religious parents. He was liked by almost everyone who met him, and his kind and caring manner left an impression on people. Upon finishing elementary school, Teofilo decided he wanted to work on this father’s farm. He also chose to attend school to become an agriculturist.

But his mom was sure this was not his calling. She recognized something spiritual within her son and wanted him to nurture it. He showed a natural and empathetic love and compassion toward the poor and downtrodden, and she thought he might consider religious life. He was frequently gathering food and rice to give to those in need.

Her prayers and the fact that Teofilo’s older brother was already a priest helped direct Teofilo to the seminary. The young man entered the Seminary of San Carlos in Cebu in 1932. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 14, 1941, one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Because of the outbreak of the war, he had to celebrate his first Mass at home instead of in his parish.

Father Camomot was assigned to St. Teresa Parish in Talisay, Cebu, in 1943. He lived very simply, only using the basics to get by. His austerity was an example for all the parishioners, and so were his actions. Each day, before celebrating Mass, he would visit the sick, and in addition to giving them Holy Communion, would tend to their personal needs the best he could. They all came to love the young priest.

Father Camomot served at  St. Teresa’s Parish for twelve years. Then, on March 25, 1955, things changed dramatically for Father Camomot. He was appointed the Titular Bishop of Clisma and the Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Iloilo. He was consecrated bishop on May 29, 1955. Even though he was now a bishop he still continued visiting the sick and feeding the poor. His humility was an example for all Catholics in his diocese.

He was a favorite wherever he went. His caring ways and loving heart drew many to him. People wanted to be near him. They could feel the spirituality that surrounded him. One of his close friends, Msgr. Jose B. Buenaflor of La Paz, Iloilo, said, “He was a saintly man – devoted to prayer, to meditation, to conversion. [He was] a serious person, even while mingling with other priests… He was very charitable…Every time the poor went to him, he gave with all his heart…”

In 1959, Bishop Camomot was sent to the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro as the coadjutor (assistant) archbishop with right of succession. It was during this time that he expanded evangelization capabilities by forming communities dedicated to evangelizing. He founded the Pauling Faith Defenders and the Carmelite Tertiaries of the Blessed Eucharist. These would be the forerunners of the Daughters of Saint Teresa.

Archbishop Camomot participated in the Second Vatican Council, attending four different sessions from 1962 thru 1965. The archbishop had suffered from kidney problems and in 1968 had to have surgery. His recovery time required him to resign as the co-adjutor Archbishop, and he was sent back to Cebu in 1970. Julio Cardinal Rosales assigned him back to his hometown of Carcar, Cebu, as a parish priest (he was still an archbishop) where, once again, his humility, generosity, and love for those less fortunate shined through. He saw the face of Christ in everyone

Wherever Archbishop Teofilo Camomot had gone during his life, he touched the hearts and souls of all who came in contact with him. He possessed the spiritual gifts of healing, reading hearts, and there have been witnesses to his acts of bilocation.

Sadly, on September 27, 1988, while returning home, he was killed in a vehicular accident. He was 74 years old. He has been declared a “Servant of God” and his evidence for sainthood is with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. There have been no negative comments, and it is expected that the Holy Father will proclaim him as Venerable Teofilo Camomot shortly.

Servant of God; Teofilo Camomot, pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

Loneliness and Thanksgiving: Thoughts from a Catholic man

God is the Answer because without Him there is no Hope

Loneliness & Thanksgiving                                                         metro.co.uk.

By Larry Peterson

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

This will be the third Thanksgiving since my wife passed away, and when you become widowed, there is an inescapable loneliness factor that enters your life. But I have learned that loneliness has no boundaries. It reaches out for everyone and captures many of the unsuspecting, including those who are seemingly happy, contented, and successful, dragging them into a world of hidden misery and often depression.

However, many who have experienced loss manage to bounce back and find contentment, peace, and even love again. Others cannot—why is that? The common denominator seems to be that those people who have God in their lives were never alone at all. Those who do not—remain alone. The first consequence of rejecting God is the loss of Hope.  They have allowed Hope to be erased from their spirit.

The results of losing Hope are devastating. In fact, the loneliness factor in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. Here are a few statistics that show how losing  Hope has affected our nation. Loss of Hope leads to despair, and the ones affected most by this loss are the Generation Z people, those who are in the 18 to 22-year-old range. I have grandchildren older than that. The entire concept of these young people, fresh out from adolescence and beginning adulthood, having lost Hope is so sad.  How can this be?

Cigna referenced a “Loneliness Index,” and it shows that loneliness has become rampant in the United States. This worldwide health service company used the UCLA Loneliness Scale  (yes, they have a loneliness scale), which is a 20 item questionnaire that was designed to determine a person’s social isolation and their subjective feelings. This evaluator is used frequently to track and measure loneliness. Some of the results were astonishing. This is from their report of May 1, 2018:

  • 47 percent of Americans sometimes or always feel alone
  • 27 percent of Americans feel no one understands them
  • 40 percent feel that their relationships have no meaning and feel isolated
  • 20 percent feel they feel close to no one and have no one to talk to
  • AMAZINGLY—the Generation Z people (18 to 22) are the loneliest generation. How heartbreaking is that?
  • Social Media users have a 43.5 percent loneliness factor, which was comparable to the 41.7 percent for those who do not use social media.

Isn’t it interesting that nowhere is the name of God mentioned in these findings? And nowhere is the importance of the traditional family considered. The numbers are mind-boggling. We are a nation of almost 330 million people. If 47% say they feel “alone” that is nearly half the country. We only have to go back 25 years to the early “90s to see the rapid decline in the absence of Hope.

Since then, there has been a 58% decline in club meetings, a 43% drop in family dinners, and children have their playtime regulated, depriving them of natural social development. People use their phones to message each other, apply for jobs, get interviewed, quit jobs, break up with their boyfriends or girlfriends, file divorce papers, and do all sorts of interactions without having to go face to face with a person, never saying one word.

Getting back to God and family would be akin to putting the lynchpin back into the hub of life. Then, people, kids included, might be taught that they can turn to Jesus and never be alone. They might be taught to think of His words from Matthew 28:20   And behold, I am with you always, until the end of this age.

We must count our blessings on Thanksgiving, especially knowing that more than half of all Americans still believe in and honor God in their lives and that we have the freedom to do it. This Thanksgiving, millions upon millions of us will pray together thanking God for all we have. We should also pray for all those who do not have Hope in their lives. We know it can always be reignited and prayer can be the kindling used to fire up the Hope lying dormant in so many. God is just waiting to be asked to light the match.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Copyright©LarryPeterson 2019

 

This Saint was Hanged for the Crime of ‘Harboring a Priest’—Her final words were, “I would have harbored a thousand priests.”

St. Anne Line                                                          en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Anne Heigham was born in England in 1563 during the early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Her parents were wealthy Calvinists, and Anne was the eldest daughter of William Heigham, who was the son of Roger Heigham, a protestant reformer who worked for King Henry VIII. When Anne and her brother became teenagers, they converted to Catholicism. Their mom and dad wasted no time in disowning and disinheriting them. Both were sent away to survive on their own.

The Heigham siblings had converted along with a fellow by the name of Roger Line. It was during the time when the Catholic Church in England was undergoing harsh persecution.  Priests were hunted down and quickly executed.  Anyone who helped them, for any reason whatsoever, were also subjected to the death penalty. Many Catholic homemakers assisted priests in hiding by giving them refuge in hidden rooms or camouflaged areas near their homes. They also set up areas where the priests could say Mass in their homes. It was incredibly dangerous work.

Anne and Roger Line fell in love and were married. Roger held the English authorities in contempt and ardently supported Anne’s pro-Catholic zealousness. Anne joined the list of Catholic women who would harbor and care for priests in hiding.

She had a secret room built next to another room where a small altar and the necessities to offer Holy Mass were kept. Confession could be heard in this room and other sacraments administered, such as Baptism and First Holy Communion. It also acted as a prayer room and was a place for priests to hide if the authorities came by.

It was not long after Roger and Anne were married that he and Anne’s brother, William Heigham, were arrested while attending Mass, imprisoned, and fined. Roger was quoted as having said at the time, “If I must desert either the world or God, I will desert the world, for it is good to cling to God.”

Roger was summarily banished from England forever and went to Flanders. Alone in exile he died shortly after arriving. When word of her husband’s death reached Anne, she increased her efforts to help priests in hiding. She also managed a guest house for travelers, did the housekeeping, and handled all the finances. Then she met Father John  Gerard, S.J. He had opened a house of refuge for priests in hiding and asked Anne if she would manage it. She agreed.

Shortly after this, Father John was arrested and sent to the Tower of London. Here he was tortured repeatedly but with the help of some clandestine Catholics, managed to escape. Anne was in poor health, and with Father John imprisoned, her responsibilities grew immensely. Unfortunately for Anne Line, she had become very well known to many people. As a result, she was forced to wear disguises and travel from house to house as secretly as possible.

Things took a sour turn on February 2, 1601;  Candlemas Day (the Purification of Our Lady). An extra-large crowd showed up to attend Holy Mass. Neighbors noticed the large number of people and notified authorities. The constables arrived, searched the house, and found the hidden room with the altar. Father Francis page, the priest who was there to say the Mass, managed to shed his vestments and disappear into the crowd. Anne was immediately arrested.

On February 26, 1601, Anne was taken to the Sessions House on Old Bailey Lane. She was so weak with fever they had to carry her to the trial in a chair. Sir John Popham, the judge, sentenced her to death for the crime of assisting a priest. Two priests, Father Roger Filcock and Father Mark Barkworth, were condemned with her. Their execution was scheduled for the next day.

The next morning Anne Line was hanged. She was first to die, followed by the two priests. Before she was executed, she announced loudly, “I am sentenced to die for harboring a Catholic priest, and so far am I from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand.”

Anne Line was beatified by Pope Pius XI on December 15, 1929. She was canonized a saint by Pope St. Paul VI on October 25, 1970.

St. Anne Line, please pray for us.

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

John F. Kennedy, a Kid from the Bronx and a Moment in Time

The following was written on the 5oth anniversary of JFK’s death; November 22, 1963. It is a true story.

John F. Kennedy en-wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

 “The president is dead.”  For those of us who can remember those words from more than 50 years ago, they were seared into our brains like letters sand-blasted into a granite headstone forever: clear, succinct, and unmistakable in meaning. How could this be? Things like this did not happen, especially in the America of 1963.  But then a few days later, John-John, in his little top coat and short pants, saluted as the caisson went by holding his dad’s body covered by our flag. It was real all right, no doubt about it.

I had a personal connection to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Just like the moment when I heard of his death, these moment(s), brief though they be,  are also seared into my brain, and the memories of them are as clear and vivid as if they happened ten minutes ago. The only difference is these are MY moments with JFK. No one else ever had these moments, just me and the 35th President of the United States. And I do not care if you believe me or not. I just felt that I should share. Let us go back to November 5, 1960.

The most famous hotel in the Bronx was the Concourse Plaza Hotel on the corner of 161st Street and the Grand Concourse. Built in 1922, it was an elegant 12-story hotel three blocks from Yankee Stadium. Many of the Yankees had stayed there, including Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and others. The hotel had a grand ballroom and fancy dining rooms. On Saturday, November 5, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy was to deliver a campaign speech at the hotel. His fateful election to the presidency was now only four days away.

I had an after-school job delivering groceries and stocking shelves for Harry “the Grocer”. I worked for Harry every day after school until 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. One of my frequent delivery stops was the Concourse Plaza Hotel. There were a number of elderly tenants that lived there year round, and they always called Harry when they needed anything from bread to fruit to bologna to beer to Band-Aids or whatever. I would bag up the stuff, load it into a cart, and push it up the two hills to the hotel. I would go there at least twice a week, sometimes more.

I had made a delivery to a customer on the eighth floor on Friday, and she told me that Senator Kennedy was coming in the morning to give a speech. She was very excited about it and told me she was going to make sure she was down in the ballroom when he arrived. She said she thought he was going to be there at 10 o’clock. I had to start work at 10 o’clock, and I was quite disappointed that I might miss my chance to see the Senator. Then things changed.

That Friday night I saw my friend ‘Sticks’ (real name Tommy) and told him about JFK coming to the hotel in the morning. He said we should just go up there about 9 a.m. and see what happens. It made sense to me, so that is what we did. I do not remember why but we did not get up to the hotel until about 9:30. We came up to the hotel through the rear loading dock, which was off 162nd Street.

That was where I always came in to make deliveries, and I knew my way around the back and basement of the hotel like the back of my hand. It was a bit strange because there were no cars or trucks, or anything or anyone for that matter, at the rear of the hotel. The overhead doors for truck deliveries were closed, and the only way in was through a door up some stairs at the end of the loading dock.

‘Sticks’ hurried ahead of me and went through the door. I was not as quick, so it took me about an extra half minute to reach the door. By the time I did ‘Sticks’ had disappeared. I hurriedly walked down a short corridor and made a left. I can remember that it was quite dark. (Whew! Right now, as I write this so many years later, the memories have become crystal clear.) I made the turn and froze dead in my tracks.  Someone else had also stopped short.

The man I had almost walked into, and who was now looking me in the eye, was Senator Kennedy. We were less than a foot apart. He had finished his speech and was leaving via the rear entrance. He was with another man. That was it. No one else was there. Just me, John F. Kennedy  and some other guy.

The other man simply stepped near me and said, “Excuse us son.”  I said nothing and stepped back. Senator Kennedy looked me straight in the eye,  and said, “Good to see you.” He reached out his hand and I reached back and we shook hands.  He smiled ate me and then he and his friend walked down some stairs and exited the door that led to 162nd Street.

The rear stairwell was right in front of me, so I ran up a half flight to a platform and opened the big window. I looked out, and below me and maybe 50 feet away the next President of the United States was standing next to a limo, just talking to the man he had left the hotel with. There were no police, no guards in the street, no one else.

There I was, alone, staring out the window at John F. Kennedy. He was wearing a dark blue topcoat that had to be very expensive, and his face had a perfect tan, something you do not see in New York City in November. His thick, sandy hair was blowing a bit, and he ran his right hand up and across it.

Then it happened. He looked up at me, smiled (I can still see his teeth) and held up his hand. He did not wave it, he just held it up with his fingers spread apart. He probably held it up for about two seconds looking at me the whole time.

He was saying good-bye to ME, a kid from the south Bronx who just happened to be there at that moment. I held up my right hand to him and I guess I smiled. I don’t remember. Then he got into his limo and was gone. I watched as my new friend’s car turned onto the Grand Concourse. Talk about a “moment in time”.

“Hey, what are you doing?”  I turned and ‘Sticks’ was at the bottom of the stairs. “I didn’t see him,” he said. “Did you?”

“Yes, I did.”

copyright©Larry Peterson 2013

‘Virgen de Los Desamparados’ aka Our Lady of the Forsaken

Our Lady of the Abandoned           en.wilkipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

On Friday, February 24, 1409, Father Juan Gilberto-Jofre, a Mercedarian priest,  was on his way to the Cathedral to say Mass. He heard a commotion in the street and saw a man on the ground covering his head with his arms as a gang of young people were taunting and mocking and hitting him.

Father Jofre hurried over to the small crowd and demanded they stop hurting one of God’s children. Father Jofre rescued the man and brought him to the Mercedarian monastery where he was given shelter and had his wounds tended to. The following Sunday at Mass, he preached his first homily about the mentally ill.

In the homily, he included a plea for funds to start a place to care for and shelter these people. He was so forceful in his speech that the merchants, craftsmen, and businessmen at the Mass, gave generously.  The money became available, and before long a home and hospital were opened dedicated to the Blessed Mother under the title of “Our Lady of Innocents.”

On August 29. 1414, a Brotherhood was founded dedicated to caring for the mentally ill. It was called the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Insane and the Forsaken Innocents. That name was soon changed.  A famine had struck the land, and many children had been orphaned. The Brotherhood quickly extended its care to not only the mentally ill but to the many orphaned children wandering the streets of Valencia. They refined the title, and the new dedication was to Our Lady of the Forsaken.

Father Jofre and his brother friars realized the hospital was lacking a prayer room. They built an oratory and when they were finished knew it was missing something; that something was a statue of Our Lady of the Forsaken. Since there was no such statue, they entered into prayer for help in acquiring one.

Legend has it that soon after three handsome young men knocked on the door seeking refuge. Thye offered to carve the needed statue as payment for allowing them to stay. They only asked to be left alone to work for at least three days. The friars accepted the offer.

As the three days went by the three young men remained in locked inside the room.  The Friars would listen by the door, but no sound was ever heard. At the end of the third day, they again knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Finally, they forced open the door only to find the three men gone. Who were these handsome men? Their identity was never discovered but most folks quickly came to believe they were angels sent by God.

What they found in the center of the room was a magnificent statue that the men had created. Miracles began to happen,  starting with the wife of a member of the Brotherhood. Paralyzed and blind, she was completely cured. Thus began the legend called, “Elferen els angels,” aka “Made by the Angels.”

The statue exhibited a demeanor that was called “majestic and protective.” The people took this to mean that it signified goodness, mercy, and assistance that comes from someone majestic. In 1885 the statue was named the Virgen de los Desamparados or Our Lady of the Forsaken and declared the Patroness of Valencia.

Today there is a Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken in Valencia, where the statue is on display. Every year on the second Sunday of May a huge festival is held in honor of Our Lady of the Forsaken Ones. It is said that Saint Bonaventure is connected to Our Lady of the Forsaken because of a quote attributed to him:

“When all human help fails, it is imperative that we not despair. For normally in this extreme situation, the divine help of Mary comes.”

‘Virgen de Los Desamparados’   (Our Lady of the Forsaken), please pray for us

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019

La Naval de Manila—Honoring the Great Lady of the Philippines; this devotion began in 1646

Our Lady of Naval de Manila                                       en.wikipedia.org

By Larry Peterson

Catholics in the Philippines are profoundly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In fact, honoring her is at the very essence of their faith.  Every year, on the second Sunday of October, a grand celebration is held to honor Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila. The first celebration of this feast occurred 373 years ago, on October 8, 1646.  So, how did this annual, time-honored celebration come about? Well, it started with a statue.

In 1593,  Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas was appointed the Spanish governor in the Philippines. Soon after his appointment, his father passed away, and he asked his trusted assistant, Captain Hernando Coronel, to have a sculpture made in his honor. Captain Coronel commissioned an immigrant Chinese artist to do the job. The man was also a convert to Christianity and had a sincere love for the Blessed Virgin.

The sculptor (name unknown) carved the statue out of hardwood. It was four feet and eight inches tall. He crafted the face and hands of the Blessed Virgin and the entire Child Jesus from solid ivory. The features of Our Lady’s face and the Child Jesus’s face are decidedly Asian due to the sculptor’s ethnicity. No matter, Governor Dasmarinas loved the statue and dedicated it to his late father. The statue was called Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. Not long after, it was given to the Dominicans, and it was placed in the Church at Santo Domingo.

Some years later, the Dutch Republic wanted to establish a quicker trade route to Asia. The most direct route would be through the Philippines. As is the way of things, they decided that they needed to conquer the country. This would require forming a formidable naval fleet which they did. The Dutch began their attacks in 1646.

The Philippine forces had two galleons to go against the enormous Dutch fleet. They prayed before the statue of the Blessed Virgin and requested she intercede for them in their impending battle. Having placed themselves under the protection of Our Lady of the Rosary they began to pray the rosary over and over. They promised that if they were victorious they would march barefoot towards her shrine in Santo Domingo Church in Manila.

Five major naval battles ensued, and the tiny Philippine naval force, a combination of Spanish and Philippino sailors,  turned the Dutch forces back each time. Only fifteen members of the Spanish navy were lost. When the Dutch finally surrendered, the remaining Philippine and Spanish sailors, fulfilling the vow they had made, walked barefoot in gratitude to the Shrine of Our Lady in Manila. The Blessed Mother was given the name of La Naval and from then on was known as Or Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval of Manila.

On October 6, 1646, the first celebration to honor the great victory was held in Manila. On April 9, 1662,  the Bishop in the Archdiocese of Manila declared the naval victory a miracle that was owed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Included in the declaration was the directive to celebrate, preach about, and hold festivities in remembrance of the miracles brought by “Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Her Holy Rosary.”

Five Popes have honored the statue and the miracles it brought forth:

  • Pope Leo XIII in 1903
  • Pope St. Pius X, bestowed a canonical crown on the statue in 1906.
  • Pope Pius XIIalso sent an Apostolic Letter on the occasion of the tricentenary of the Battle of La Naval de Manila on 31 July 1946.
  • Pope St. Paul VI declared her Patroness of Quezon City in 1973
  • Pope St. John Paul II dedicated the entire Asian continent to her in 1981.

Today the Santo Domingo Church is known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila. Prior to the statue’s Canonical Coronation more than 310, 000 people donated jewels, gems, gold, and silver to adorn the statue.It is considered the oldest ivory carving in the Philippines. The church is the largest in Manila and one of the largest in all of Asia.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2019