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  • Writer's pictureCaceres Media

Queen Forever

By Fr. Francis A. Tordilla

The image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia being brought to the Quadricentennial Arch of the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral just before the start of the Ninth Novena Mass in her honor on 16 September 2023. Ninety-nine years prior, the same patio of the Cathedral hosted the Canonical Coronation of Our Lady of Peñafrancia as Queen and Patroness of Bicol on 20 September 1924.

Now that the lights are out, the loudspeakers are mute and the crowd has thinned and gone. How is Inâ, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, “siempre la Reina de nuestra region”?

I’d say her reign starts now when the pomp is gone; when the euphoria has died down. For her “queeness” is not that of being regal or dominant or spectacular. The new Queen Mother is a gentle but relentless force in fighting for the rights of the poor, the voiceless, and the suffering.

When Fr. Maximo Juguera, CM, composed the hymn to Inâ in 1924, in time for her canonical coronation, he was deliberate on highlighting this reality so that we would never forget. In the third stanza we find: “Los pobres y tristes te buscan con fe (The poor and the downcast seek you with faith.) Te miran llorando les miras tambien. (They gaze at you with tears and you look at them too.) Al punto sus lagrimas se truecan en bien, (At once, their tears become well) Y a casa gozosos les vemos volver"(And we see them return home in joy).

Devotees will be back to work soon. Tomorrow the daily grind starts. Is her reign with you? Try bartering help for the tears of the poor and the downcast and she will be queen for our land, por siempre.


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