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Devotees normally dip their hands in the Holy Water receptacles by the main doors and make the sign of the cross to pay respect and give honor to God. There are others who not only dip their fingers to make the sign of the cross. I saw a couple literally sprinkling their children with Holy Water, as they prayed for their healing.
At Manaoag Church, after the final blessing of the priest at the end of the Liturgy, all church goers go to the front (just before the altar) to sing devotional songs to Our Lady of Manaoag, mentally/spiritually ask for forgiveness of sins and/or granting of their prayer petitions, then raise their hands and religious articles to be blessed with Holy Water. It is a Catholic belief that the Holy Water has healing powers- washing of venial sins sincerely repented for, empowering religious articles to fight the devil, and most importantly, healing of body ailments.
Updated Mar 28, 2009
Devotees patiently line up to go to the Veneration Room which is at the 2nd floor behind the altar where Our Lady of Manaoag is enthroned. The line ends at the back of Our Lady where through a small opening, devotees are allowed to touch the gown of Mama Mary. This Filipino tradition is common in Shrines with miraculous religious icons, and is done by devotees because they believe that just the mere touch can already relieve one's weary soul or sick body.
Church volunteers guard the Veneration Room to prevent devotees from overstaying behind Mama Mary (longer prayers are supposed to be said at the pews in the room), thus prolonging the line. Their presence also deter attempts of fanatics to tear parts of the Lady's gown as religious relic or talisman.
Updated Mar 28, 2009
It is not surprising to see devotees light not only 1 but many candles when they visit the Shrine. A special prayer is said before lighting the candle offering. Candles are lit either as a gesture of thanksgiving for granted favors, or as a way of lifting up prayer intentions for one's self or other people.
Written Mar 28, 2009
Morning, afternoon, and evening, the candles ceaselessly burn. The Manaoag Churh, it seems, is destined to be a lighted church as endless lines of devotees light candles to send up their petitions to god and Mama Mary.
Written Apr 17, 2007