It was a beautiful afternoon in the summer of 2005 when the founders of the Penafrancia Devotion first met at the Queen Victoria building for a coffee to discuss the possibilities, protocols and logistics of introducing formally the devotion in Australia.
The founders, Jun Relunia, Neria Soliman and Josie Musa spent over three hours of planning the priorities to bring INA in the Filipino Chaplaincy through the Diocese of Parramatta.
In May 2006, the replica of INA arrived in Sydney and the first novena mass was held on 3 June 2006 at St Michael’s Church, Blacktown after the blessings and acceptance of both the replica and propagation of the devotion by the Filipino Chaplaincy thru Father Bong Dublan.
The priests who concelebrated in the Eucharistic celebration were Father Bong, Filipino Chaplain and Father Nonong Mallari from the Basilica of Penafrancia. The fellowship was attended by hundreds of devotees mostly Bicolanos. Guidelines on the propagation of devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia was issued by the Filipino Chaplaincy and approved by Bishop Kevin Manning of the Diocese of Parramatta.
From this day, the public Penafrancia devotion started.
The church-based organisation, Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia (ADOLP) Inc. was incorporated in June 2006. The main objective is to propagate the devotion to Ina under the guidance of the Basilica of Penafrancia and the Filipino Chaplaincy, Diocese of Parramatta. In the same year, ADOLP website www.australiandevoteespenafrancia.com was created to assist in the propagation of the devotion to Ina.
Currently on its 10th year (2006 – 2015), the Bicolano community of Sydney and NSW have laid out their activities in preparation for another successful celebration of Penafrancia Fiesta on 19 September 2015. The Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia (ADOLP), based at St Nicholas of Myra Church in Penrith, have announced the holding of triduum masses before the feast day.
On Saturday 19th Sept, the image of Our Lady of Penafrancia will be brought back to her home at St Nicholas of Myra Church for her Feast Day. The novena will start at 9am and followed by concelebrated mass at 9:30 am.
After the mass, the Replica will be brought to “Tench Reserve” Factory Reserve Wharf (Jamison Road) by car procession (a 10 minute drive) for “INA” fluvial procession on the Nepean River. The Explorer (a 32 seater boat) will be the pagoda. The Nepean Belle (with capacity of 150) will be the boat for the devotees. There will be 20 rowers in 4 boats from the Penrith City Rowing Club who will participate in the fluvial procession. Kayakers from Wollongong will also bring their kayaks to join in the fluvial procession.
The Pendragons with one or two of their dragon boats will also participate. The fluvial procession will start at 12:00 pm and will last until 12:30 pm followed by lunch and entertainment. Food stalls is available for everyone to savour the variety of Filipino/Bicol dishes for FREE after the fluvial procession.
Over the last nine years, close to 500 devotees and friends attended the fiesta, and this year an increase in number is expected being its 10th year milestone celebration.
This year’s Penafrancia Festival theme shared provided yearly by Basilica de Naga is “Living Out God’s Mercy and Compassion in the Year of the Poor”. (Pagsabuhay kan Pagkaherak asin Pagmakulog kan Dios sa Taon nin mga Dukha).
On 19 September 2015, the Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia is expected to be even bigger and more colourful being on its 10th year celebration. More dignitaries and devotees all over NSW confirmed their attendance.
The consular staff headed by Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, the Penrith Mayor, Councillors, MP’s and priests from the Diocese of Parramatta are the celebrants for the Eucharistic celebration.
All are invited to join ADOLP in the 10th year of INA devotion in Australia.
The following are the highlights of the activities for the day:
Concelebrated Mass – 9:30 AM, St. Nicolas of Myra Church, High St. Penrith
Fluvial Procession – 12:00 Noon, Nepean River, Factory Road (Tench Reserve)
Lunch Fellowship & Entertainment – 1:00 pm, Factory Road, Tench Reserve, Penrith
For more information please contact: Jun 0419233643, Norma 0481115316, Evelyn 0410511745 and Au 0402739605