by Elizabeth N. Terte
11 January 2012 – San Fabian, Pangasinan. “It is truly edifying!” Mr. Carl Malburg, the present custodian of the statue, exclaimed in awe and amazement as he watched the number of devotees who visited the Parish of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, where the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima stayed on 9-10 January 2012, grew by the hour.
“The number of devotees who are coming even surpassed the devotees who come on Holy Thursday and Good Friday”, said Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza, parish priest of the San Fabian. “The people have been continuously coming in and out of the parish church since Our Lady was brought in the parish church.”
The statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought to the Parish of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr, from the St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Dagupan City after an overnight visit. Parishioners, led by the Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza, and the members of the Knights of Columbus, including the K of C Honor Guards, accompanied the transfer from Dagupan City to San Fabian, Pangasinan.
The statue was met at the foot of the Cayanga bridge by hundreds of parishioners. Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas was on hand to welcome the statue. The Mayor of San Fabian, Madam Irene F. Libunao and BM Mojamito Libunao, joined the parishioners in welcoming Our Lady in San Fabian. Our Lady arrived in San Fabian shortly after 9:00 AM. Rev. Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza put the crown on the head of Our Lady as soon as she was brought out of the vehicle which transported her. The Archbishop led the devotees in the procession going to the parish church.
Waves of White Handkerchiefs
The pupils of Longos Elementary School with their teachers were the first to welcome the statue as it passed their school. They waved their handkerchiefs, as the Longos Central Elementary School Drum and Lyre played Marian songs.
Pupils and students from the different schools in San Fabian lined up along the processional route to welcome Our Lady. They soon joined the procession in going to the parish church.
Students from the Archdiocesan School of San Fabian, St. Blaise Christian School, West and East Central Elementary Schools and the San Fabian National High School joined the hundreds of parishioners during the procession.
Archbishop Soc: “San Fabian as Center of Formation of Priests”
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan, presided over the Mass welcoming Our Lady in San Fabian.
“San Fabian will soon become the center of formation of our priests”, Archbishop Soc said. “Next month we will start the construction of the Theology Seminary in Palapad (San Fabian). Before Jesus will come, Mary has to come first.”
The Theology Seminary in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
The Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan has assigned a lot in Barangay Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan measuring twenty seven thousand square meters as the future site of the theology seminary.
A pious lady architect who has been a recipient of the papal award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, Architect Susana Castillo, has made the design for the future seminary. Once completed, it will be able to accommodate eighty seminarians who can also take their classes in theology within the same compound.
The Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan has already two formation houses for future priests: the Mary Help of Christians High School Seminary in Binmaley, Pangasinan and the Mary Help of Christians College Seminary in Bonuan Gueset, Dagupan City.
A massive fund raising campaign is being undertaken by the Archdiocese for the construction of the Theology Seminary which is to begin next month. The Theology Seminary is envisioned to be finished and fully operational by June 2013.
Unending Flow of Devotees
Since the arrival of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima in the morning of 9 January, it was observed that there had been continuous flow of devotees visiting and venerating Our Lady. Many had observed that it was like the number of people who go to the church during the Holy Week, or during the fiesta of the town.
Families come to pray in front of the image of our Lady. “It is very touching to see children being led by their parents as they kneel and pray the rosary in front of Our Lady”, Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza observed.
Visit to Tandagan, Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan
Before the image was transferred to the next place to be visited by Our Lady, the Pilgrim Virgin Image was brought to Tandagan, Palapad, San Fabian, at the location where the Theology Seminary will be built. A short prayer was led by Fr. Oliver E. Mendoza. Marian Songs were sung during the short procession to the topmost part of the hill where the future chapel will be built.
“The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima may leave us, but she will always remain in our hearts.” Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Our Lady of Fatima visits Tandagan, Palapad, San Fabian, Pangasinan, the site of the Theology Seminary in the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagpan
This hill is where the Chapel of the Theology Seminary will be built.
Photos and pictures courtesy of Judys Apilado, Violeta Omiles and Weng Nicer (from their Facebook accounts. – ed)
(Elizabeth Terte is a member of the Union of Prayers for Vocation (UPV)of the Parish of St. Fabian. She is also a member of the Parish PREX Secretariat. She is at present the Head Teacher of Palapad Elementary School – ed).