By Christina Hermoso
Following its declaration by the Vatican as a minor basilica, more pilgrims and devotees are expected to visit the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church in the town of Orani to pray before the image of their highly venerated patroness, the Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario de Pueblo de Orani, also known as Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.
Brought by the Spanish Dominicans in 1587, many miracles have been attributed to the intercession of the Marian image that attracts busloads of devotees and tourists particularly during her feast day on October 13.
Pope Francis granted the title of minor basilica to the Marian church on September 5 and which was announced by Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos on September 23.
“The Virgen Milagrosa provides and performs miracles to her devoted and faithful children who come to her and invoke her maternal intercession. We must be forever grateful to our dearest ‘mother.’ Let us manifest our filial love and respect. Let us give her our obedience and appreciate her maternal protection and assistance. Our dearest Virgen Milagrosa del Rosario del Pueblo de Orani is always with us, and for us. She comes to us, visits us, and does miracles for us. The caring presence of our Virgen Milagrosa, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary enhances comfort, gives consolation, and is truly an assurance of safety. She brings us to Jesus, and Jesus to us,” Santos said.
According to Santos, the clergy and religious of the Diocese of Balanga observe Marian spiritual and pastoral programs in gratitude and in appreciation of Our Lady’s constant miraculous intercession including a Marian dawn procession to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Orani every first Saturday of October, the holding of a Pilgrimage Holy Mass at the church every second Saturday of every month, among other activities.
As of Nov. 15, 2017, the Catholic faith has four major basilicas which are all in Rome, Italy and 1,757 minor basilicas around the world, 15 of which are in the Philippines. The Balanga diocese has yet to announce the date of the formal declaration of the Orani Church as a minor basilica.