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Penafrancia pagoda or water refuge

Penafrancia Australia in Penrith, September 20th


Nepean Belle watercraft
Nepean Belle watercraft


Penafrancia pagoda or water refuge
Penafrancia pagoda or water refuge

For the  9th year, the Bicolano community of Sydney and NSW is laying down the ground work for the annual celebration of the Feast of  Our Lady of Penafrancia this coming 20th September.

The association and prayer group Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia (ADOLP), based at the St Nicholas of Myra Parish in Penrith, have announced the holding of triduum masses leading to the actual day of festivity.  “Triduum” is a latin term referring to a 3-day period of prayer or devotion preceeding an important feast.

Before the  Penafrancia Fiesta on 20 September, there will be three separate weekend novenas in honour of Ina (Mother).  These novena masses will be held at the following: 30 August at 11:00 am, Mary Immaculate Church, 125 Barnier Drive, Quakers Hill; 6 September at 11:00 am, St. Patricks Cathedral,1 Marish Place, Parramatta and 13 September, 11:00 am at the St Michael’s Church, 58Orwell St, Blacktown. 

All these novena masses are scheduled on Saturdays to afford Marian devotees to participate and attend these events prior to the big feast day itself.   

The image or Replica of Ina which came from the Basilica of Penafrancia will stay at each parish for one week to enable Marian devotees to pray for Ina’s intercession.  Our Lady’s image is being dressed for the occasion every year thru the generosity of donors. This year’s dress of INA is donated by Tito & Neria Soliman & previous years donors were Ernie & Au Aaron, Relunia Family and Tom & Norma Evans to name a few. 

On Saturday 13th Sept, the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia will be brought back to her home at St Nicholas of Myra Church for her Feast Day. The novena will start at 9:00 am and followed by concelebrated mass at 9:30 am.

After the mass, the Replica will be brought to “Tench Reserve” Factory Reserve Wharf (Jamison Road) by car procession (a 10 minute drive) for eventual “INA” fluvial procession on the Nepean River with the majestic Blue Mountains as background.

The Explorer (a 32 seater boat) will serve as the pagoda or refuge during the fluvial procession. For the past 7 years, The Nepean Belle (with capacity of 120) is the always the Devotees boat and to reimburse the Wakeling family (former owners not now) for gasoline and staff, there will be a boarding fee from $10-$15 dollars. 

Twenty rowers from the Penrith City Rowing Club will join the fluvial procession so a total of 4 or more boats this year.  Participants from Wollongong will also bring their kayaks for the fluvial procession. The Pendragons with one or two of their dragon boats will also participate. The fluvial procession will start at 12:00 pm and will last until 12:30 pm followed by lunch and entertainment. 

Last year, close to 400 devotees and friends attended the fiesta, and this year an increase in number is expected.  ADOLP has also announced that this year’s theme is “Laity: Sent Forth with INA to Witness to Christ’s Gospel and Strengthen Communities of Faith”. This theme also marks the preparation of the Basilica de Naga for next year “Year of the Poor”.

The Basilica also decided this year that fishermen and farmers are the one to be in the Pagoda in consonance with the theme. The celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia is one of the biggest religious celebrations in the Philippines during September, attracting devotees from all over the country and abroad.

In Sydney, a replica of the original image is housed at St Nicholas of Myra Church since 2006, and is blessed for devotion with permission and authority from the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres. 

Once again, Philippine Consular staff in Sydney headed by Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, the Penrith Mayor and Councillors and the devotees from all over NSW are expected to come.  ADOLP had invited also the Vicar General and most of the Filipino Priests in the Diocese of Parramatta as the main & co-celebrants for the Eucharistic celebration. 

ADOLP Inc. invites everyone on 20 September 2014, to the Penafrancia Feast and Fluvial Procession at Nepean River, Penrith.  Before the FEAST, TRIDUUM Novena MASSES will be celebrated in three different parishes mentioned above. 

For further information, please contact the following: Ben Bongat 96821483; Jun Relunia 0419 233 643, Evelyn Datoc 0410511745 & Norma Evans 0481115316