Carmel of Bacolod now a pilgrim site

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By Luci Lizares


Saturday, July 19, 2014

THE Feast of Our Lady of Carmel was on July 16. The Mass celebration was at 7:30 in the morning at the Carmelite Chapel. I decided to go early as parking in the area during the feasts is usually most difficult. This early, parking was already impossible.

The rain was accelerating into a heavy downpour. Our share of typhoon ‘Glenda’ was in the atmosphere. The demons were persuading me to go home. But if we can brave the torrential rains for essential needs, why should I abort my desired plans for the day?

I circled the area and finally found a spot across the street, which would have been a leisurely walk during a good day with the sun shining. I decided to wait in the car for the calm after the rain has exploded its wrath. The heavy downpour minimized its strength, and armed with an umbrella I crossed the street, walked some distance and reached the entrance of the Carmelite Chapel.


The water had risen and we waded through the mud or did some expert jumps to avoid the muddy puddles.

Considering the situation, the Mass started at around 8 in the morning with priests devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel co-celebrating. The main celebrant was Bishop Vicente Navarra.

It was a beautiful Mass and homily with the seminarians serving as the choir. I would have missed a moment of grace had I turned back and headed home.

Before the end of the celebration, Chancellor Fr. Segundo Chua III read a Proclamation of a Decree establishing the Carmel of Bacolod as a pilgrim site on the occasion of the 500th birth anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church.

“On the year 1515, the 28th day of March, to a merchant and his wife was born a daughter, Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada.

“On the year 1535, blessed with a sacred calling, she joined the Carmelite Order. Thereupon was the beginning of a Spiritual Pilgrimage, made vibrant by the rhythmic interplay of struggle and growth.

“On the year 1562, enthused by divine embers of grace, she sought to reform the ancient order, and mothered in Avila, Spain, the Carmel of St. Joseph, a robust mansion set upon the rock of sanctity, schooling her discalced daughters in discipline and prayer.

“On the year 1582, having at last accomplished the work of reform, the founding Mother breathed her last, leaving the Church with a lavish bequest of her spiritual begetting, Carmel after Carmel.

“On the year 1604 was founded the first Reformed Carmel in Paris, which gave birth to the Carmel of Lisieux. The Carmel of Lisieux begat the Carmel of Saigon, the Carmel of Saigon begat the Carmel of Hanoi, the Carmel of Hanoi begat the Carmel of Hue, the Carmel of Hue begat the Carmel of Jaro, Iloilo, the First in the Philippine Islands.

“On God’s appointed time, on the year 1946, the 13th day of May, was founded the Carmel of St. Joseph and of St. Therese of the Diocese of Bacolod.

“And as of today, the 16th of July of the year 2014, the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, as we stand at the threshold of the conclusion of the Year of the Laity, as we prepare to celebrate the Quincentennial of the Birth Anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila, we now henceforth commence from this day, to celebrate the memory of grace in a yearlong feast of mercy, granting the Blessing of Partial Indulgence ‘under the usual conditions’ in accordance with the Code of Law, to those faithful who come to the embrace of Carmel of the Diocese of Bacolod, which by force of this decree is declared a Pilgrim Site until the 28th of March, 2015.

“To the Father Almighty and Ever-living, to Jesus Christ, His Son, who was, who is, and who is to come, and the Life infusing Spirit, the Lord and Consoler of the poor, we give praise everlasting and glory unending, forever and ever. AMEN.”

In testimony hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Diocese of Bacolod be affixed, given in the City of Bacolod, Negros Occidental, this sixteenth day of July, in the year of Our Lord two thousand fourteen. Signed: Vicente M. Navarra, D.D. Bishop of Bacolod.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 19, 2014.


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