25 awardees feted on nat’l shrine’s 25th anniversary

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The awardees with Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, P.C., shrine rector and parish priest of the National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne, Hagonoy, Bulacan and members of the Parish Pastoral Council and Jubilee Committee. (Photo: Aurelia De Guzman, PNSSA)

HAGONOY, Bulacan, Nov. 5, 2016 – On the eve of the Parish of St. Anne in this town’s silver anniversary as a national shrine, 25 men and women who paved the way for the Church of Sta. Ana de Hagonoy’s declaration as a shrine way back in 1991 were recognized.

The celebration was held on Oct. 29, after the last novena Mass in honor of the church’s 25th anniversary presided over by Fr. Mario Evangelista, parish priest of Nuestra Señora del Santissimo Rosario, Sto. Rosario, Hagonoy, Bulacan. Among the silver jubilee awardees honored by Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, P.C., shrine rector and parish priest, were:

  • Msgr. Sabino A. Vengco, Jr., H.P,
  • Msgr. Fernando G. Gutierrez, H.P.,
  • Msgr. Ranilo S. Trillana, P.C.,
  • Fr. Vicente B. Lina, Jr.,
  • Mr. and Mrs. Romeo and Marcelina Apostol
  • Dr. Gabriel Morales
  • Mr. and Mrs. Rudy and Zenaida Carpio
  • Mrs. Dolores M. Cruz
  • Mrs. Teresita Raymundo-Cruz
  • Mr. Amador Reyes

Hurdles faced

In his thanksgiving message on behalf of the awardees, Fr. Vicente B. Lina, Jr. reminisced about experiences leading up to the declaration. He said: “There were many trials that the community needed to undergo in order for this church to be a national shrine.”

According to him, the first hurdle was having the parish declared a diocesan shrine. Second, there was the need to prove that the shrine has been a center of devotion to St. Anne. Third, proof was required to show “the significance of Hagonoy’s devotion to St. Anne that made the place special.”

Lina noted the committee’s obvious admiration of the growth of Hagonoy vocations that would eventually be all the proof the shrine would need. “[The committee said], ‘What more to prove Hagonoy’s devotion to St. Anne and St. Anne’s guidance to this people if not for the many priestly and religious vocations in this town?’ At once, the Episcopal Commissions on Liturgy and Canon Law gave their consent as the more than 100 priests of Hagonoy was a testament to the faith of the people in this town.”

A ‘priestly’ town

Hagonoy currently has 114 priest-sons, 64 of whom are still in active service in different dioceses and religious congregations. For this, Hagonoy has been called a “Levitical Town” (Bayang Levitico) by many of its townsfolk. Further, he also noted the great contribution of St. Anne’s Hagonoy-born parish priest, Msgr. Jose B. Aguinaldo, P.A., whose hard work and dedication inspired several of the contributors present, including some already deceased.

The evening celebration ended with a serenade by the Meisters chorale. The choir of college seminarians of the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary, Guiguinto, Bulacan performed the official jubilee song, “Dambana at Pananampalataya” with lyrics by Ariel Tolentino and arrangements by Sem. Justine Cedric Espinosa. The group also sang “Omnia Omnibus” (All Things to All Men) in honor of recently deceased Malolos Bishop Emeritus Cirilo Almario, Jr., D.D. in gratitude for his support of the move to declare St. Anne’s in Hagonoy a diocesan and eventually, a national shrine. (Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban / CBCP News)

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