9-day novena for La Virgen reels off Oct 3 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 October 2012 16:45

Devotees of Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar from far and wide and coming from all walks of life will troop to the Fort Pilar Shrine at 5pm daily starting October 3 for the 9-day novena mass in honor of the revered patron saint of Zamboanga.

Every morning starting at 5, devotees also join the procession from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Shrine followed by the 6am Holy Mass.

The novena and processions will culminate on October 12, the feast day of Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar. The activities on the fiesta day will start with the Diana/Holy Rosary at the shrine at 4am; mañanitanat 4:40am; mass at 6am, 8am and 10am; grand procession at 3:30pm from the Cathedral to the Shrine; mass at 4:30pm; Pontifical Mass at 5pm and Mass at 6:30am.

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga organizes the religious activities forming part of the Fiesta Hermosa 2012, the city’s grandest festival held annually in honor of the Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar.

The festival kicked off October 1 with various socio-cultural activities organized by the city government and other private agencies and groups.

Mayor Celso Lobregat enjoins everyone to join and participate in the activities lined up for the festival that include songs, dances and presentations showcasing the city’s unique chabacano language, colorful history and rich culture.

However, he stressed, amid the fun and the merriment, people should not forget the real reason for the celebration which is Nuestra Senora la Virgen del Pilar.

The Fort Pilar is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City. It is now a regional museum of the National Museum of the Philippines and is considered a major landmark of the city and is a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Outside the eastern wall is a Marian Shrine dedicated to Nuestra Senora la Virgen del Pilar, the revered patroness of the city.

The Wikipedia recounts miracles through Marian apparitions at the Fort Pilar. “It was in 1734, when a relief of the Our Lady of the Pillar was placed above the eastern wall of the fort making it an outdoor shrine with an altar for praying. Tradition reveals the Virgin Mary appeared to a soldier on December 6, 1734, at the gate of the city. Not recognizing her, the soldier asked her to stop. Upon recognizing her, he fell down to his knees.”

“On September 21, 1897 at 1:14 PM in the afternoon, a strong earthquake struck the western region of Mindanao. The Virgin Mary made an apparition, according to the people who witnessed it, they saw the virgin standing mid-air over the Basilan Strait, she had her right hand raised to signal the onrushing waves to stop, saving the city from a tsunami.”

Meanwhile, the socio-cultural activities heat up, as Fiesta Hermosa 2012 is now on its fourth day. Nightly from Oct. 1-8, different barangays of the city present cultural shows dubbed “Wow Zamboanga” at the Paseo del Mar.

Today, Oct. 4 will be the blessing of pets at 5:30pm at the St. Joseph Church, Miss Zamboanga 2012 pageant at 8pm at Astoria Regency,.

Tomorrow, Oct. 5 will be the opening of the Regional Convention of Operating Room Nurses’ Association of the Philippines at the Garden Orchid Hotel, Pilar College Grand Alumni Homecoming (Oct. 5-7) at the Pilar College; Little Princess Zamboanga 2012 at 6pm at the Astoria Regency; 30th Chabacano Song Festival at 7pm at the Garden Orchid Hotel; and Mayor Celso Lobregat Open Bowling Tournament  (Oct 5-7) at 6pm at the Tebi & Sean Bowling Center.

Other activities include the Zamboanga East and West Central School Alumni Homecoming (Oct. 6)  at 5pm; Flores y Amores Golf Tournament (Oct. 6-7) at 7am at the Zamboanga Golf & Beach Park; Fiesta Hermosa Blood Letting (Oct. 6) from 8am-12nn at the Red Cross; BIGDAWGS presents: Zamboanga Import Nights” Car Show (Oct 6) from 10am onwards at Jardin maria Clara; Solamente Zamboanga- Visual Arts Exhibit (Oct. 6-Nov. 6) at 6pm at Garden Orchid Hotel; Run for Life 2012 (Oct 7) at 5:30am at the JFEM Sports Complex; Regatta de Zamboanga (Oct. 7) from 8am onward at the R.T. Lim Boulevard; Rakista Zamboanga “Battle of the Bands” (Oct. 7-11) from 7pm onwards at Plaza del Pilar; IBP 4th Mindanao Convention for Lawyers (Oct 8-10) at the Garden Orchid Hotel; Dancesport Competition (Oct. 8) at 1pm at the City Coliseum; Fiesta Hermosa Medical (Oct 9) from 8am to 12NN at the Plaza del Pilar and Mascota de Zamboanga (Oct 9) at 7pm at the Orchid Ballroom of Garden Orchid Hotel.

On October 10, the activities will include the Wow Sardinas, the sardine eating spectable at 5pm at the R.T. Lim Boulevard; Globe Day at 6pm at the Paseo del Mar; Balikbayan Night at 7pm at the Hacienda de Palmeras while October 11 will be a packed day with the socio-cultural activities starting at 11am to 12nn with the Fiesta Regalo del Alcalde  at Paseo del Mar; Hermosa Street Dance competition at 1pm at the JFEM Sports Complex; Float Parade also at 1pm at the JFEM Sports complex; main program of fiesta at 3pm at the JFEM Sports complex and the Fireworks Display at 10pm at the Paseo del mar. — Sheila Covarrubias