Friday, October 12, 2012

La Naval de Manila

Soon after the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Dominican friars in the Philippines propagated devotion to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, to whom was ascribed victory in that historic battle.

The image of the Virgin and infant Jesus that they commissioned in 1593 was carved from ivory by a Chinese artisan who later converted to the Faith; it is said to be the oldest ivory carving in the Philippines.

 In 1646, when Protestant Dutch forces tried to gain possession of the Philippines, five naval battles were fought in Manila Bay, and the Dutch were finally repulsed. As at the naval battle of Lepanto, victory was ascribed to Our Lady of the Rosary, and specifically to the ivory image in the care of the Dominicans.

Henceforth, she was also known as La Naval de Manila. In 1662, a local council held in Manila declared that the victories were miraculous, and that these miracles were to be "celebrated, preached and held in festivities, and to be recounted among the miracles wrought by the Lady of the Rosary for the greater devotion of the faithful to Our Most Blessed Virgin Mary and her Holy Rosary".

Since then, annual processions and novena Masses have been celebrated with great joy, fervour and beauty in Manila. The image is still housed in the Dominican church of Santo Domingo, relocated to Quezon City (which is part of the megalopolis that is Manila) after the Second World War in 1954.

In 1907 Pope Saint Pius X authorized that the image be canonically crowned, and in 1973 she was declared patroness of Quezon City, and of the Philippine nation.

Below are photos from this year's festivities, which begin with the enthronement of the miraculous statue of La Naval, and the Enthronement Mass. Given the great popularity of this devotion, and the widespread media coverage that the Novena of Masses receives, the influence of the La Naval liturgies in propagating a reform of the Reform is considerable, and worth noting here.

Photographs from the La Naval de Manila Facebook page.

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