Filipino Heritage Day 2017
By Melanie Williams (Jun 24, 2017)
A rainy Northeastern morning gave way to a beautifully breezy and sunny afternoon on Eden Hill at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Saturday, June 24, 2017 for the annual Filipino Day.
Ten charter buses and dozens of vehicles pulled on the grounds for a day of prayer, meditation, and praise to God and His Divine Mercy.
Brigida Williams, Herb Hernandez, and the Sacred Heart Prayer Group from Long Island, New York, came up to the Shrine for a "pilgrimage of mercy."
Brigida said, "Every First Friday we gather pray for priests, our families, the sick, and the whole world." Especially in this 100th anniversary year of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Herb said, "we pray the Rosary every day for peace in the world."
Many pilgrims, including the Sacred Heart Prayer Group, took time to pray the Outdoor Stations of the Cross in reparation for sins of the whole world.
Aiding the faithful in worship, the "Ocean of Mercy" Prayer Community from Jersey City led songs of praise and worship during Eucharistic Adoration, Holy Mass, and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Krystelle Pring, Ocean of Mercy's music director, said, "Leading people in the Chaplet has increased my empathy for others. To be able to lead others in prayer helps me become more focused on others in my music and prayer, rather than focused on myself."
Liam Barredo, a member of the choir and the psalm cantor at the Mass of the day, said, "This music ministry is all about compassion and love. Being Catholic is just as much a part of our Filipino culture as anything else. All of our traditions are attached to the Church. Even people who don't go to Church anymore still celebrate Catholic Feast Days."
Liam grew up praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy every morning at 7 a.m. while watching EWTN and 3 p.m. after school. "My sister used to call me over to her friends at school and asked me to sing the Chaplet for them," Liam said.
Father Anthony Gramlich, MIC, Rector of the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, said in his homily at the Mass, "As rector, I meet a lot of Filipinos, and it's such a joy. I always notice their gift of joy."
Father Anthony noted that in today's gospel, for the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist, many people were rejoicing. John leaps for joy in his mother Elizabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's voice, Elizabeth rejoices because of God's faithfulness to her and giving her a child, and Mary rejoices for her cousin Elizabeth and for the infant in her womb — Jesus.
"In this 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima," Fr. Anthony said, "Mary is the new John the Baptist, a forerunner, coming to the earth to call us to repentance."
Our Lady calls us all to prayer and penance in reparation for our sins and peace in the world.
Father Anthony concluded, "Like John the Baptist and Mary, we can prepare the way of the Lord… Give your heart to the Lord, rejoice in His mercy, be proud of your culture, and spread the Good News of the Gospel so that all may rejoice in the salvation of the world."
See his full homily here: