MILAN, Italy. Heavy rains did not stop Bicolanos to pursue the traditional fluvial procession of the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia at the Naviglio Grande River here last September 18, 2011
For many of them, it was “panata” (pledge) to join the fluvial procession so no matter what happen, they will be joining. They believed that the overnight pouring that has continued the following day, when the Bicol Saro Association set their celebration to honor Ina was a blessing.
The usual novena and singing inside the boat was done but this time, less the Italians, Filipinos and tourists along the riverside as audience.
“Mostra te esse filium” or “Show yourself a Child” (of Ina). This is this year’s theme of the Bicolandia’s celebration to honor their patroness, Our Lady of Penafrancia.
Rev. Fr. Joel Jores, a Bicolano priest from the Philippines, came to celebrate with the Bicolanos and led the fluvial procession.
He expressed admiration and congratulated the Bicolanos in Italy for continuously giving importance to celebrate the Penafrancia fiesta. This, he said, adheres to the theme of the celebration.
In his homily, Fr. Emil Santos, the main celebrant, also acknowledged and applauded the presence of everyone. He admired their perseverance to attend despite the heavy rains.The mass was at 11:00 o’clock in the morning in a place a bit far from the city center and less accessible to public transport.
The mass was also attended by the government representatives such as Consul General Lourdes Tabamo, Labor Attache Annabella Oliveros, Welfare Officer Lilia de Guzman, Cultural Officer Aurora Acosta and other staff of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Milan.
Also present are the leaders of the diffirent Filipino communities and different active sports group.
New president’s challenge
The oathtaking ceremony of the new set of officers of Bicol Saro Association followed soon after the mass. It was headed by Consul-General Tabamo.
Romeo Mesina, the new President of the association said that the main goal of the association this time is to unite all Bicolanos in Italy or at least in Milan. He expressed eagerness to hold a dialogue with other Bicolano leaders for a possible creation of a real “saro” (one) Bicol. He is looking forward to a single (not two or three) Penafrancia fiesta celebration in Milan someday.
There are three existing organization of Bicolanos in Milan now. Bicol Saro was the first. It was created more or less 15 years ago. A group from this association created Bicolnon and another set made another. This division prompted confusion to other Bicolanos as to where to go, where to attend the fiesta and which group to frequent and support.
To unite Bicolanos as what it was before is the greatest challenge of Mesina as the new president.
The Bicolnon group also celebrated the fiesta last September 25, 2011 at the Parrochia di San Giovanni Evangelista, Via Ludovico Pavoni, 10 Milan.
The celebration was simple. The Holy mass was celebrated by Rev.Fr. Rico Crisostomo, Chaplain, Filipino Community of San Tommaso. (by: Zita Baron, photos by: Ruel de Lunas)