Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Our Lady of Penafrancia – Vienna Style

It was my first time to join the celebration of Our Lady of Penafrancia. It was more memorable because it was in Vienna. I was invited by the Bicol Society of Austria (BSA) especially Christy and the Divine Mercy Devotees to join their festivity. It was a fluvial pilgrimage and procession from Vienna to Bratislava aboard a first class cruise along the Blue Danube river. This was the culmination of a 9-day novena in Our Lady’s honor. The fluvial pilgrimage is the 11th year in the history of BSA in Vienna.
It took us 3 hours to get there. After the procession partcipated in by more than 600 of our kababayans, we had mass at the basilica of St. Martin. Our main celebrant was imported from Naga City, Philippines – Msgr. Noe de los Santos. The event marked the 300th anniversary of the devotion which goes back to a young seminarian and son of a spanish government official from Penafrancia, Spain, Miguel Covarrubias who was healed of an illness. When he became a priest, he started the devotion in 1710 which the Bicolanos embraced with ardent devotion.
Many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady. The most recent is the healing of Archbiship Leonardo Legaspi, bishop of Nueva Caceres of stage three lung tumor. The story has been published in the Inquirer on August 31, 2010. The prelate claims that Our Lady of Penafrancia healed him.
I was impressed by the show of love of our people here in a foreign land. Ina as the Bicolanos fondly call her, continues to draw her devotees to remember her and love her. The big church seemed small when it was filled up to capacity by our kababayans. My prayer is that this devotion will challenge our people to unity, selflessness and genuine love for our Inang Bayan under the guidance of Our Blessed Mother. Viva la Virgen!
Our Lady of Penafrancia
The pilgrims
The Procession

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