ADOLP attend the first International Pilgrims Congress
|Australia's ADOLP pilgirms arrive for the Congress.|
The Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia (ADOLP) have attended the 1st International Pilgrims' Congress (IPC), with a group of 30 ADLOP pilgrims from Sydney taking part in the congress in Naga City, Philippines.
Held from 16 to 17 September, the IPC was part of the Tercentenary celebration of the devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia, Patroness of the Bicol Region, Philippines.
The group of ADOLP pilgrims from Sydney was the largest contingent from any country in attendance, joining with some 400 pilgrims from the USA, Europe, Asia and the Philippines.
Australia was represented by ADOLP and NUSPAS, with Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville and Fr Michael Gimena also in attendance.
Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres gave the keynote address, emphasising that the devotion to Ina leads us to Jesus.
|Australian Devotees of our Lady of Penafrancis Dancers|
Speakers during the conference traced the history of the growing devotion to Ina, which started in 1434 when Simon Vela found an image of Our Lady in Pena de Francia in Salamanca, Spain.
The second night of the congress featured a cultural presentation, where the history of the devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia was depicted in a play performed by students. International groups also had their respective presentation numbers. ADOLP performed a song and dance routine to the tunes of the popular Waltzing Matilda and I Still Call Australia Home (choreographed by Mely Adan), much to the delight of the gathered pilgrims.
The following day, the pilgrims watched the colourful fluvial procession from a very good location near the Tabuco Bridge, just in front of the dock where the image of Ina was transferred to the waiting pagoda for the fluvial procession along Naga River.
There were about 80 pilgrims on board the pagoda which was pulled by 20 boats or bancas. The sight of the voyadores - with different colours representing their respective towns - was spectacular.
Along the banks of the Naga River, shouts of Viva La Virgen were echoed by the thousands of devotees who witnessed the fluvial procession. They prayed the rosary and lit candles as the procession passed by, while the bishops and priests on the pagoda gave their blessings to the devotees on the river bank.For the Australian pilgrims, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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