I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

25 May, 2013

"Pray, Hope and Don't Worry"--St. Pio of Pietrelcina

    We happened to have something major to thank Padre Pio in particular for this month.  The thought of traveling from Sta. Rosa to the center in Libis was not exactly pleasant. Sure, it would be a part of the ''sacrifice" as in a true pilgrimage but seriously, I have been avoiding going north towards Metro Manila. I have never been to that center in Libis but I know that area enough to know I didn't really want to go, and on a Saturday. My husband has been there, and wanted to go today.  He too, knew what a "sacrifice" that would be.  There had to be an alternative.  For information about this Saint, please look him up.

    St. Pio's profile on Google showed me May 25 was his birthday! While his feast day, with big celebrations in shrines that honor him is on his death anniversary of September 23, I was almost sure May 25 would be a good day to visit anyway. And we did plan on actually visiting today, May 25, a Saturday. A fun coincidence.   An aside---I'd been trying to think about why May 25 seemed so significant, devotion-wise. It was only upon arriving home that I found it is also one of the feast days of the Saint I had been praying through (St. Pio is actually my husband's), St. Philomena. Her relics were found on May 25. 

   I also found, via the web, another shrine, more appealing being in our part of Luzon---a church, in barangay San Pedro, Sto. Tomas, Batangas.  

    Now I wanted to go, if only for the "easier" drive by Mt. Makiling and the surrounding hills.  I believe we can pray anywhere, that our devotion does not necessitate visiting such shrines.  Being able to is, for me, a bonus.  My faith also does not require me to stroke or kiss the statues of saints, although it is helpful to have their images in front of me, whether in sculptures or photos. I am content to pray and meditate at home in peace and quiet.  For the child, however, the images of the saint, and the idea of it being his birthday, were treats.  She later admonished us for forgetting to actually greet him a happy birthday!

     Anyway enough talk. Here are a few shots of the salakot -(native hat) roof, the many statues, the relics (they have 4 pieces, which make the crowd flow faster during healing masses).  Apparently this morning's Healing Liturgy saw the most number of attendees.  The Healing Liturgy is usually held on the 23rd of each month, except for May when it is held on the 25th.  The woman who approached us...a volunteer parishioner in charge of the place, told us the mass took long this morning as two recently-healed people passionately testified about their healing...and would not stop.

    She also repeatedly said to us, in Tagalog, "You will be back. You will not realize it you will just come back".  (More shades of "People will come", eh?). I only hope it's to pray in thanksgiving more than to ask for intercession in despair.

Belfry with a bell from Holland to ring for the first time in July this year.

    So go ahead, visit, "pray, hope and don't worry". It's worth the trip seeing the bamboo lining the altar (I love bamboo).  There are small canteens, a lomi  (noodle soup native to the area and to Lipa City, Batangas) house in bgy. San Miguel and San Vicente close to the shrine, but no big places in San Pedro and at the shrine itself. So even before these barangays, you might need to stop at the RSM Lutong Bahay in Calamba, have some Collette's Buko Pie, or eat at the usual fast food joints. There is a Shakey's at the junction or forks of Sto. Tomas and the highway toward Mabini and Malvar.