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Lady of Penafrancia

Recalling this year’s Penafrancia celebration in Penrith

BY JUN RELUNIA – I remember the memorable celebration of the feast of  Our Lady of Penafrancia by the Australian devotees, the Filipino community, the parishioners of St Nicholas of Myra church and residents of Penrith in New South Wales all gathered together as one family on Saturday 21st September.

A perfect weather greeted the devotees as they prepared to start their day. A solemn and joyful celebration of the mass was held with Bishop Vincent Long of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta as the main celebrant held at St Nicholas of Myra Church. Concelebrants were Fr Dado Haber, Fr John Paul Escarlan, Fr. Jobi Payyappilly and Fr Sayed Kozhaya. Deacon was Willy Limjap. Assisting in the liturgy were Alex Mendoza as acolyte and the Filipino Chaplaincy Altar Servers accompanied by the beautiful singing of the Filipino Chaplaincy Choir.

Bountiful water brought by the recent rains on Nepean River made the perfect scene for the colourful fluvial procession led by the well decorated boat of William and Fina Gaite which served as the sporting and escorted by the dragon boat  manned by  crew from the Pendragons of Penrith and the Dragon Boat Sports Association of Rhodes. NSW. Accompanying Our Lady of Penafrancia on board the pagoda were William Gaite, Fr. Jobi Payyappilly, acting parish priest of St Nicholas of Myra and Deacon Willy Limjap.

It is the belief of the devotees that it rains before the Feast Day to enable the water level on the Nepean River to rise for the fluvial processsion.

After the fluvial procession,  the devotees and guests had a sumptous community lunch followed by a high quality program for an appreciative audience wherein Philippine Consul General Ezzedin Tago lauded Australia for the religious freedom people enjoy in it. Entertainers included the Sydney Sonata Singers, the Philippine Language and Cultural Association of Australia Cultural Dancers, Fe  Limjap, the Bicol Inc Dancers, Mathew Dino and Adhika Performers.

We should say thanks to the Cumbancheros who sang, provided music and sound system at the Factory Rd Reserve for the past 13 years.

A big thank you to the Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria,  represented by Moses Millena , as corporate sponsor for many years of the Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia in Penrith. Thank you also for the Penrith City Council for their support, the Filipino Chaplaincy, Diocese of Parramatta, St Nicholas of Myra Parish and the Basilica of Penafrancia for their support and guidance.

The Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia would like to thank St Aidan’s Parish, Rooty Hill( Fr Alan Layt and Fr. Galbert Albino), St Michael’s Parish Baulkham Hills ( Fr Wim Hoeskstra) and St Patrick’s Blacktown ( Fr. Reggie Lavilla and Fr John Paul Escarlan) for hosting for a week the Replica of Our Lady of Penafrancia and the Banner of the Divino Rostro  and the triduum novena and their parishes.  Please photos.

In Australia, the Feast Day was celebrated in Victoria Saturday 14th Sept and Perth Sunday 15th Sept. NUSPAS at Lidcombe celebrated their Feast Day  Sat 7th Sept.

Vince Sandigan, head of the devotees in Perth filed this report on the celebration of their first ever fluvial processio on the Swan River, Perth.

“ On Sept 15 Sunday, the 1st fluvial procession was held on the Swan River. The celebration in Perth is now on its 8th year of blessings and devotion. The celebration was so successful and attneded by more 400. The mass was held at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Gosnells.with Fr Conrad Bagaoisan as main celebrant with Fr  Robert Carillo and Fr Leonard Guiang as concelebrants..  The mass was followed by fellowship at St Munchins Catholic School Hall. Viva El Divino Rostro and Viva La Virgen.