By Christina Hermoso
Devotees of the highly revered Our Lady of Penafrancia are expected to line the stretch of the Naga River banks on September 21 at 4 p.m. for the much-anticipated grand fluvial procession of the venerated images of Our Lady of Penafrancia and the Divino Rostro (Holy Face of Jesus) that will be brought back to the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Penafrancia.
Spectators traditionally wave white handkerchiefs and utter a prayer as the elaborately-adorned carriage, accompanied by smaller vessels, passes by. The festive fluvial procession serves as the highlight of the annual Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia as the images of “Ina,” the well-loved patroness of the Bicol Region, and the Divino Rostro are brought back to the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Penafrancia from the centuries-old Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, where the images were brought for the novena masses on September 13 via the Traslacion procession.
Several activities will be held on Saturday including a dawn penitential procession at 3 a.m. Masses will be offered from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., 4 a.m., 6:15 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and at 6 p.m. Church bells will peal at 12 noon.
The solemn Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia will be observed on September 22 with a series of pontifical masses, marking the 309th year of widespread devotion to “Ina.” The theme for this year’s celebration is “Doing Christ’s Mission with Youthful Hearts with Mary.”