Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nuestra Senora del Stmo. Rosario de La Naval de Manila

The Philippines is a Catholic country since 85% of its population adhere to the Roman Catholic Faith, thnaks to the Spanish conquistadores. With Spanish brand of Catholicism, the Philippines is very much devoted to the Virgin Mary thus being called "Un pueblo amante de Maria". Among Dominican shrines in the Phils, that of Our Lady of the Rosary in Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City rightly deserves 1st place both for its antiquity & importance. It dates from the 16th century & is located in the national capital.

In 1954- a Marian Year- Our Lady of the Rosary's shrine was declared by the Philippine Hierarchy the "National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary. The image of our Lady venerated at Sto Domingo was sculptured at the request of then Acting Gov Gen of the Philippines Don Luis Perez Dasmarinas. Under the direction of Capt Hernando delos Rios Coronel, a chinese artisan sculted it. It is 56 inches tall. Its head & hands are of ivory. The Holy Child is entirely of ivory. It was carved w/ such skill that after almost 400 years, it still retains its majestic & imposing beauty which commands reverence & devotion before its presence. Thereafter, neither the chinese sculptor nor the christian captain was able to produce a similar one no matter how hard they tried.

For more than a century the image was enthroned in one of the side altars of Sto Domingo Church in Intramuros, in a niches protected w/ iron grills. In 1712, Fr. Pedro de Mejorada OP built in her honor a stately chapel which was an extension of the transept on the right side. It was from this chapel that the image of the lady of the Rosary presided over the fortunes of the Philippines for centuries. From this throne she witnessed the growth & maintenance of the Catholic Faith in the archipelago. In 1646, 15 well armed Dutch ships attacked the philippines. To challenge them, 2 old galleons which had served as merchant ships along the Pacific routes in the Acapulco trade were speedily armed, & they easily won over them 5 resounding victories by the miraculous help of the Lady of the Rosary to whom the Filipino fighters prayed for help. This has come down in history as the famous victories of La Naval de Manila.

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