This year, a very special summer awaits us: For two months this summer, St. Mary’s Parish will become the parish of Our Lady of Namacpacan! Same Mary, different name.
Our Lady of Namacpacan is the name given to Our Lady by the people of the town that is now called Luna, formerly Namacpacan, in the province of La Union, Philippines.
My favorite part of her story is its beginning. A statue of our Lady had been ordered from Spain in 1871, exactly 150 hundred years ago next year, and was destined for a seminary in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. As the ship carrying the statue passed along the shore of La Union, a fierce storm forced the boat to land at Darigayos, a barrio of Namacpacan. Several attempts at leaving the port of Darigayos were repelled by strong winds, and when they tried to haul it overland, the statue wouldn’t budge! It was concluded that Our Lady had chosen Namacpacan as her home! And so she was taken to the parish church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, where she has resided to this day. In 2012, she embarked upon a series of pilgrimages that took her statue to Los Angeles, Virginia, Hawaii, San Joe, New Jersey, and Toronto. The statue will arrive in our church on June 29, and will depart for Seattle on August 30.
Our Lady of Namacpacan has been, since the beginning, Our Lady for the poor, as the name given to her by the people of La Union implies, “Apo Baket”, which means “one who feeds” or “one who provides”.
She will be with us for what I am sure will be a time, a summer of many graces. The schedule of activities for the duration of her stay can be found in today’s bulletin, and will be published again when the time comes. My primary aim today is to point out areas in which we will need help.
While this visit is intended to be a pilgrimage opportunity, it is also intended to be a fundraiser. The proceeds will help cover the cost of the pilgrimage in North America, and contribute to the Clergy Retirement Fund of the Diocese of San Fernando of La Union as well as to the improvement of the Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan in Luna, La Union. To this end, we need for you to help us find people who will publish a full page ($150), a half page ($100) or a quarter page ($50) in the souvenir program that will be issued sometime toward the end of her stay.
In terms of fundraising, we also need help in selling tickets ($20) for the Welcome Dinner on July 7, as well as tickets ($65) for the Thanksgiving Banquet and Dance which will be held on August 25.
There will be refreshments served after the Welcome Mass on June 29, and a luncheon will be served after the Thanksgiving High Mass on August 25. We need for families or groups to provide one or a few dishes for these two events.
If you can help with any of the above, or you know of someone who can, please contact Rey or Ophelia Sagun at 604-349-7926 or at 604-442-7928, or by email at email@example.com
In addition to the 6-7 p.m. novena prayer that will run from June 30 until August 21, since we will be a church of pilgrimage, we will extend the church’s opening hours. More information will be provided on these extended hours when we will have determined what, exactly, we can do in this regard.
By googling “Pilgrimage of our Lady of Namacpacan in Vancouver”, you will access the Archdiocese’s official page for the pilgrimage, as well as a host of other suggestions of webpages that have to do with the pilgrimage that awaits us.
Here’s wishing us all special graces from our participation in this very special event in our parish,