At last, after long five years that I’ve been staying in the Metro finally I got a chance to hear mass and celebrate Palm Sunday at the Shrine of Our lady of Manaoag Church which I consider my second home. If you are following my blogs I’ve mentioned that I grew up on this church from childhood to teenage years up to graduating in college with flying colors because next to the church is a Catholic school.
This school was being run by the Dominican Priest and Sisters that also runs prestigious Catholic schools in the Metro like the Aquinas University, University of Santo Thomas, Colegio de San Juan de Letran etc. I almost know every corner of the church including secret passages though some places are restricted and only the priests have the access. The architecture and design of the church was preserve but there are lot of changes in the pilgrims area. At the back of the church there’s this new blessing area, the improvement of the parking area, wash area, canteen and the most noticeable of all the candle area. Whenever I go back to this church memories flashes back because I know Mama Mary is always there watching me and reminding me to be a good citizen and disciple of Jesus Christ. I feel the strong spiritual connection and the comfort of a mother to his child.
I attended the Sunday mass in the afternoon at around 4 o’clock thinking I will meet old friends, acquaintances or people who I know but sad to say none of them was there maybe it isn’t the way it is before. There is so much change, maybe they have their own families now like me, others are working overseas, it could be others are living outside Manaoag, their too busy on something I don’t know we don’t have a regular communication. Attending Sunday mass before is a way for us to have a great bonding, to meet your crush, to date your girlfriend or boyfriend. After hearing the mass it usually followed by a beer drinking sessions at the plaza or a friend will offer his house and host the beer party. Those where the glorious days. When the mass is ended, I headed at the back of the church to take pictures that I intended for this blog. I was amazed by the changes of the Pilgrims city. It seems that the church parish wanted to renovate everything to attract church goers, pilgrims, devotees and better accommodate them incorporating a new look and feel of the place. I will like to add that Manaoag church has its own radio station at 102.3 FM “Radyo Dominiko ng Manaoag”. This local parish community radio station is intended to bring the blessings of God to everyone through listening to the Word of God through religious inspirational music, Catechism of the Catholic Church and biblical passages. They also have a web cast click here to listen online.
The candle store has its new location including the place of devotion the candle gallery. I’ve seen many changes of the candelaria it started small then the old school canteen and playground turned into a new candle gallery during the 90’s and now it was renovated again and move to its new location much more even better it has a replica of Mama Mary at the middle of the dome like structure on top of a man-made mini water falls. The new ambience was so cool and you will feel like you are not in Manaoag. Restrooms and wash rooms was also renovated, that’s great to see because the last time I check men’s restroom smell was not that good. The location of the old restrooms was converted into a grassland. As I continue to walk I took pictures of the people and the place. There’s nothing I can say, the pilgirms center has greatly improved, the facilities are getting better and I heard that the church museum has a plan for renovation as well to attract more and more people each year. See pictures below: