Devotees’ response to the call
The Feast of the Virgin of Manaoag
The Summer and October Feast
The primary feast of the Virgin of Manaoag, more familiarly known as the Summer feast, is celebrated on the third Wednesday of the Easter season. This feast coincides with the celebration of the town fiesta. It also reminisces the canonical coronation of the Virgin in 1926. This feast also becomes the peak of the pilgrimages done during the Lenten and Easter Season.
The October feast of the Virgin of Manaoag is celebrated in relation to her title as Our Lady of the Rosary. It is celebrated every first Sunday of October. The month of October is universally observed as the month of the holy rosary wherein the faithful are encouraged to daily pray and meditate on the mysteries of the holy rosary. Pope Pius V instituted the feast after the victory of the Christian army over the Ottoman (Turkish) fleet in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Pope Gregory XIII instituted the feast in the liturgical calendar every first Sunday of October (hence the possible origin of the current October feast in Manaoag) before being transferred permanently on October 7 in 1913.
First Saturday Devotion
(Dawn Procession and Scriptural Rosary)
The Saturday devotion to the Virgin Mary is an ancient and pious observance celebrated in the Church. The said devotion was further developed into observing the First Saturday of twelve consecutive months in order to gain a plenary indulgence as granted by Pope Pius X in 1905. This devotion was further propagated by the Fatima apparitions visionary, Sr. Lucia Santos upon the request of the Virgin Mary to be offered as reparation for the sins committed against the Lord and her Immaculate Heart and for the restoration of peace in the world.
The First Saturday of the month devotion to the Blessed Mother is marked with a dawn procession at 4:00 AM near the vicinity of the Basilica. It is then followed by praying the scriptural rosary upon arriving at the Basilica which is then immediately followed by the Holy Mass. It is well-attended by pilgrims from nearby provinces and regions even as far as Metro Manila.
According to tradition, the image was also brought out in procession during the turbulent times such as drought, famine, and pestilence. It is during this time that the people seek the intercession of the Virgin to aid or protect them from the aforementioned dangers. Accounts would narrate that a procession was done to seek rain after experiencing drought for a long time. It was said that as soon as the image of the Virgin returned to the shrine, heavy rains poured continually drenching the dry streams and parched lands. On another occasion, the image was borne in procession to the fields seeking the Virgin to protect the rice fields from the swarms of locusts. Upon reaching and pausing at a certain field, the swarms of locusts began to disappear. Today, the original image of the Virgin is only brought out during the afternoon procession on her feast days during Summer and October. On other occasions such as during the first Saturday dawn procession, in lieu of the original image, a replica is brought out in procession.
Pilgrim Image Visitations
As part of propagating the devotion to the Virgin of Manaoag, the basilica commissioned several replicas of the original image which are brought to different dioceses, parishes, schools, and institutions.