HAGONOY, Bulacan, May 1, 2016 – The National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne in Hagonoy, Bulacan celebrated the town’s thanksgiving feast, known as Pistang Pasasalamat ng Bayan, with a procession of the town’s patron saints as well as a Holy Mass.
Fr. Joselito R. Martin, current rector of San Carlos Seminary and a Hagonoy native, and Msgr. Luciano C. Balagtas, P.C., episcopal vicar for the Western District of the Diocese of Malolos, parish priest and rector, presided over the Eucharistic celebration at the national shrine at 8:30 a.m.
“Above all the material and temporal blessings which we can all receive, it is the love of God and the never-ending graces from Him and from praying to St. Anne as well that is important,” said Martin during his homily, noting how the Hagonoy faithful have a lot to be thankful for.
World War II blessings
He also encouraged the faithful present to use their knowledge as their strength to follow the will of God wholeheartedly.
Hagonoy Raulito T. Manlapaz, Sr. and his family led in the procession of all the patron saints of the parishes and barrios in the town of Hagonoy.
Out of 26 barrios, only nine are not named after Catholic saints. Pistang Pasasalamat ng Bayan, an annual celebration traditionally held on the last Sunday of April of every year, is held to thank God for the blessings given to the town through the intercession of St. Anne, who is known among the townsfolk as Apo Ana.
Since the start of this tradition, the municipal mayor has always held the position of Hermano Mayor, since the celebration is also considered one of the town’s cultural events.
Specific events that date back to World War II like the safety of civilians who were imprisoned inside the parish church during the Japanese occupation and relief from floods are part of the intentions of the said celebration. The feast date was only transferred to May 1 in 2014 by Msgr. Balagtas to facilitate the Municipal Hall’s involvement in co-hosting the celebration in conjunction with Labor Day.
St. Anne’s 3 feasts in Hagonoy
Besides the Pistang Pasasalamat ng Bayan, the National Shrine of St. Anne also celebrates two other feasts. The saint’s principal feast every July 26, considered as the saint’s liturgical celebration for the whole Catholic Church, starts in July as a month-long celebration in honor of the town’s patroness whom the faithful believe is their guardian against severe damage from flooding, for good catch of fish among the town’s fishermen, and for the growth of priestly and religious vocations among the townsfolk.
The third celebration would be the anniversary of the proclamation of the Parish of St. Anne in Hagonoy as a national shrine, held every Oct. 29. A product of parish priest Msgr. Jose B. Aguinaldo, P.A. and the Parish Pastoral Council’s hard work, the parish church witnessed the promotion of the devotion to the mother of the Mother of God in the town.
Hagonoy celebrates three feasts in connection to Apo Ana, who is venerated through land and fluvial processions. During this celebration hosted by the Kapatiran ng Kapariang Taga-Hagonoy, Inc. (KAKATHA), the town’s association for its priest-natives, the parish community rejoices in the honor given to this church. (Kendrick Ivan Panganiban / Manuel Geon dela Cruz / CBCP News)