After 76 years, the historic re-enthronement of Our Lady of Aranzazu took place inside the Letran chapel. The devotion to Our Lady of Aranzazu once considered as a popular piety in Manila particularly in the historic Intramuros. Colegio de San Juan de Letran is the oldest College in the Philippines administered by the Dominican orders. The Letran is the seat of the Archconfraternity of Nuestra Senora de Aranzazu and the sanctuary of an image of Our Lady of Aranzazu for centuries.
The Letran was bombed on December 27, 1941 around 8 o’clock in the morning. When classes resumed in Letran after the Second World War in 1946, the image of Our Lady of Aranzazu comes out for public veneration every December 16, during the first day of Simbang Gabi or Misa de Aguinaldo, which is considered as her patronal feast in Manila and in accordance with the decree of Pope Benedict XIV and the older provisions in Mexico drawn by Admiral Echeveste and Fr. Arrechedera that the feast be made on the said date. The nine days novena to her is also serve as a mini-recollection for Christmas.
The image of Our Lady of Aranzazu (donated by our parish) was introduced to the new generation of Letran community last September 7, 2017 during the September convocation with the theme “Special devotion to Mary” at the Blessed Antonio Varona Gymnasium. The image received a symbolical coronation led by Rev. Fr. Paul Lovell Javier, OP.
The next day September 8, during the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lady, Letran celebrated their annual institutional mass in front of the image of Our Lady of Aranzazu. It was followed by a short procession going to the Letran Chapel. Our Lady of Aranzazu’s image was accompanied by the Dominican priests and some female children wearing their angelic costumes, while carrying their baskets filled with rose petals. On the other side, the Letran band played various Marian songs to honor the Virgin.
When the image arrived inside the chapel, the devotees poured rose petals while yelling Viva la Virgen! The Rector and President of the Colegio; Rev. Fr. Clarence Marquez, OP together with Rev. Fr. Lovell Javier carried the image going to the altar and finally enthroned the Lady on the Thorn-bush after 76 years.
The re-enthronement of Aranzazu’s image at the Letran Chapel is a good way to prepare for the Letran’s Quadricentennial year celebration in 2020, while the devotion to Our Lady of Aranzazu continues to spread within and outside San Mateo. Our patroness will continue to inspire and attract many devotees (especially the students and teachers of Letran) to lead us to her son, our Lord Jesus. Ave, Ave Viva la Virgen! Arriba Letran! (Christian Robles)
Christian Jasper Robles
Junior Writer, Website Team - MPIMChristian is a Senior Communication student at Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila. Most of his writings are dedicated to Marian devotion and has been actively involved in propagating the devotion to Our Lady of Aranzazu since 2013. Christian is the secretary of Association of Our Lady of Aranzazu since 2014 and a member of the Avant Garde Singers.