SAN MATEO, Rizal, July 13, 2014—Students in San Mateo, Rizal have recently “gone Marian”, going all out with their expressions of affection for Our Lady when school visits by the Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu image resumed after stopping in 1998.
“After an almost 17-year interim, the beloved Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu (Our Lady of Aranzazu) statue made it back on tour in a bid to rekindle devotion among the local faithful, especially the students and youth,” Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu president Erico Biona Dela Cruz shared.
Student-delegates and teachers picked up Our Lady’s image at the Diocesan Shrine downtown and brought it to their school in procession amid the Aves of passersby and the receiving party.
Dela Cruz said, “Each campus had its way of welcoming the image: Some designed flaglets which the students would joyously wave as the image approached; others prepared short skits and dance numbers in honor of the Blessed Mother.”
The Marian hymn “Pamimintuho sa Birhen ng Aranzazu” was also sang in chorus while the school’s drum-and-lyre band played in accompaniment.
The children were made aware of the history of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu: how her statue ended up in the Philippines from its place of origin in the Basque town of Guipuzkoa in Spain, the miracles attributed to Mary under this particular
title, and how devotion to her spread.
Liturgical celebrations followed including readings from the Gospels and the recitation of the prayers of the faithful.
During the image’s stay on campus, students took turns praying the rosary with their teachers before they carried the image back to its shrine.
According to Dela Cruz, these “visits” of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu began in 1992 when Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos became parish priest of San Mateo, but was stopped in 1998 by Monsignor Mariano Balbago.
To date, Our Lady has visited San Mateo Elementary School, Guitnang Bayan Elementary School, Dulong Bayan Elementary School San Mateo, and National Highschool. (Raymond A. Sebastián)