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The Catholic Defender: The Virgin Mary returns to the Philippines in 1610 from the Lady who Calls.

A middle aged farmer who was walking home heard a Lady's mysterious voice. He looked around and with great awe he saw the radiant Lady with a Rosary on her right hand and a Child on her left as she stood on a cloud veiling a treetop. The man fell on his knees. He told the people of the apparition. And soon right on the spot where the Lady appeared a chapel was built. A town quickly flourished around it and was called "Manaoag".

a middle aged farmer was on his way from a grueling day in his farm. Foremost in his mind, of course, was his family. He worried about his home and his crops which he knew would be laid to waste any time the raiders come for another depredation. Faced with this hopeless prospect, he resorted to the wellsprings of his faith. He has been taught by the good Padre to have full trust and faith in the goodness and mercy of God and in the protection offered by the Heavenly Mother.

These thought came into him. He signed resignedly to Virgin Mary and somehow his fears vanished as he continued his slow homeward. As he followed the path from the hill in the deepening dusk, he became aware of a mysterious light coming from somewhere. He turned to the west to assure himself that he was not being deceived, and sure enough he saw that the sun has set.

He made a full and turned his gaze to the light- a tree nearby. Instantly he recognized the radiant face of a woman holding an infant in her arms. Unable to grasp that significant of the phenomenon and overcome by superstition, he wanted to run. In a moment of hesitation, he heard a sweet voice called out his name. He stood transfixed at the smiling face of the mysterious Lady. He kept down, she continued in her singularly sweet voice. "Son, I want a church built here in my honor. My children shall receive many favors in this place."

Overflowing with joy in that extraordinary experience, the man told his tale to his wife, children, relatives and friends. But when he went to tell it to the parish priest he got a different reception. The old Padre not only did not believe him but went on to insinuate that the man was suffering from hallucination that was induced by the extreme heat of the day.

Nevertheless, the story spread far and wide. People in the neighboring settlements heard of it and they came to see for themselves. These pilgrims went home not only assured of the truth of the event but but also felt that their petitions had been answered. The pilgrimage to the Lady developed into a least once a year event to fulfill a vow, make new petition to her, and offer their devotion to her. Coming home from their visit to the place of the Lady's appearance and on being asked along the way from where they came, the early pilgrims would point to the general directions of the settlement and answer “ Dimad Apo ya Mantataoa ”, or from the Lady who Calls. In time the rest of the words in the phrase were dropped and a derivation was substituted - MANAOAG. This remained the name of the town.

Our Lady of Manaoag is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated in Manaoag, a town in Pangasinan, the Philippines. Under this title, she is invoked as patroness of the sick, helpless and needy.

The devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag includes two feast days: the first in the summer, on the third Wednesday after Easter, and then again on the first Sunday in October. The summer feast commemorates the papal coronation of the image of Our Lady of Manaoag in 1926, and the October feast is connected to Mary’s title as Our Lady of the Rosary.

Our Lady of Manaoag is depicted in a 17th-century ivory and silver image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. Brought to the Philippines from Spain in the early 17th century by Father Juan de San Jacinto, the statue is now enshrined at the high altar of the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag.

The church was built on the site of a Marian apparition in Manaoag. Documents dating back to 1610 attest that a middle-aged farmer walking home heard a mysterious female voice. He looked around and saw on a cloud-veiled treetop an apparition of the Virgin Mary, holding a rosary in her right hand and the Child Jesus in her left arm, all amid a heavenly glow. Mary told the farmer where she wanted her church to be built, and a chapel was built on the hilltop site of the apparition, forming the nucleus of the present town.

Today, thousands of pilgrims flock to the shrine and basilica in Manaoag.

A replica of the statue is at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte, a gift from parishioner Joe Calicdan and his wife Cristy. Joe, who was born in Pangasinan, and his family have a deep devotion to Our Lady of Manaoag.

The statue features in the Eucharistic Procession for the annual Diocese of Charlotte Eucharistic Congress each year.

The church is renowned for its spiritual significance and is known for the miracles that are attributed to Our Lady of Manaoag. The church has a rich history that dates back to the 1600s and has been rebuilt and restored several times over the centuries.


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