For the third year in a row, SLRP went on a Lenten pilgrimage. This time the destination was Batangas province. For 2013, the parish visited San Roque Church in Lemery, Our Lady of Caysasay and San Martin de Torres Basilica in Taal, St. Joseph the Patriarch in San Jose, St. James the Greater in Ibaan and, San Sebastian Cathedral and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Lipa. So far, this was the biggest group handled by our parish, 157 pilgrims, taking up 3 buses and 1 van. For some, this was the 3rd time they joined the Visita Iglesia; for others, their 2nd, and still others, their first. As in the past, the Visita was also an expanded Way of the Cross, with 2 stations being meditated upon in each church.
The highlight of this year’s pilgrimage was the solemn mass celebrated by Father Luke in Our Lady of Caysasay with the Caysasay Shrine Rector Fr. Von Cumagun giving the history and religious background of Caysasay. After the mass, the pilgrims had a chance to venerate the miraculous image of Our Lady of Caysasay and visit the well of Sta. Lucia along the Pansipit River close by where the image of the Virgin was found by Juan Maningcad in 1603.
157 parishioners is quite a big number to look after and there were bound to be inconveniences, like unexpected delays and long queues at the veneration of images and the toilets. Despite these “wrinkles”, we all arrived safe and sound back in SLRP just 1 hour behind the expected time of arrival. For everyone it was another unforgettable experience, not just because we were given another opportunity to appreciate our heritage, not just because of the opportunity to again bond with one another, but more importantly because of the chance given us to examine our hearts, especially during this Lenten season, and to ask ourselves: “Where am I in my journey to perfect my faith”?
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