And so they did. Parishioners were encouraged to attend the 6AM and 6:30PM Novena Masses from August 25 to September 2 to set the tone of the fiesta proper on September 3 as a way of focusing on the Lord and glorifying Him, and to thank Him for gifting us with Mama Mary under the title of Our Lady of Consolation. Fr. Arnel invited guest-priests from the Vicariate of San Isidro Labrador under the Diocese of Novaliches, and the Order of Augustinian Recollects whose homilies were to benefit and grow the parishioners’ spiritual perspectives. Furthermore, the PPC invited the parish mandated organizations, the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs), the Homeowners Associations, the Area Chapels and even the different parish choirs and music ministries. They were partnered together to be the sponsors and offerors in the Novena Masses. Thankfully, these organizations enticed their members and constituents to participate in the Novena Masses.
As the weekend of the fiesta approached, the parish staff, volunteers and assigned organizations went into high gear with their preparations. Buntings were made, tarpaulin announcements were printed and hung to welcome parishioners in the parish grounds. The Parish Youth Ministry invited its members and its not-so-young supporters to its “Parokya Ko, Linis Ko Project” to wash and scrub the parish grounds; to sweep, wipe and clean the church interior, floor and pews. The altar, the Our Lady of Consolation Room and the images of St. Augustine and St. Monica were likewise cleaned and adorned with fresh flowers beautifully arranged by the members of the Mary’s Altar Guild.
Then on September 1, 85 golfers and sponsors, led by the head of the organizing committee Bro. Roger Murga, converged at the Royal Northwoods Golf Club at Coral na Bato, San Rafael, Bulacan for the OLCP Invitational Golf Tournament. The golfers were one in saying they had lots of fun out-doing each other in trying to put a small ball into a small hole, 18 times, with the least number of strokes; followed by a sumptuous lunch and a raffle replete with prizes. What a great way to support OLCP and its efforts to complete the construction of the Parish Pastoral Center!
September 1 being a First Friday, our beloved Recollect seminary fathers joined together for a Kumpisalang Parokya to enable the parishioners to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This was perfectly timed to coincide also with the Communion of Reparation Vigil in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary from 8PM till the 12 Midnight First Saturday Mass, conducted monthly by the OLCP Alliance of the Two Hearts with the faithful support of Fr. Arnel and Fr. Jonathan Caballero, OAR, the OLCP Assistant Parish Priest.
Then at 5AM on September 2, the members of the OLCP Apostleship of Prayer (AP), Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity (SARF), the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY), the Legion of Mary, and the Confraternity of Altar Servers led the monthly First Saturday Dawn Procession of the image of Our Lady of Consolation. This was followed by the regular 6AM Mass and a light breakfast was shared by all. Then, the Mary Butler’s Guild (MBG) members sponsored the 7:30AM LeBran Dance Exercise in the parish grounds and led the parishioners in flexing their bodies and in releasing and dissipating their inner tensions. Whew!
Fr. Arnel invited the Most Rev. Fr. Florentino Cinense, D.D. to the 10AM Confirmation Rites for our parish youth. Parents, relatives and friends were present to witness and to share their Catholic Faith during the confirmation of their loved ones.
Then at 2PM, the parish youth converged in the parish ground for the OLCP Palarong Pambata Parish Youth Council and the Sportsfest organized by the Parish Youth Ministry. Hundreds of them competed with the spirit of sportsmanship, to give their best and to develop friendships with their fellow youth. Finally, at 7:30PM, the parishioners were serenaded by the beautiful and angelic voices of the different chorales invited by the OLCP Music Ministry to the Marian Chorale Serenade, the highlight of the 2nd day of the fiesta celebrations.
The following day, September 3, the Solemnity of Our Lady of Consolation, Fr. Arnel and Sis. Lulu woke up very early in the morning to be interviewed by Radio Veritas which also broadcast the 7AM Sunday Mass celebrated by Fr. Arnel himself. After the Mass, parishioners milled around the parking area which was cordoned off exclusively for them to partake of simple breakfast fare generously donated by former Ombudsman Ananiano Desierto and family.
Parishioners from all over, including the members of the different mandated organizations and BECs, streamed early into the OLCP Main Church to pray the Holy Rosary before the 9AM Thanksgiving Mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Dionisio Q. Selma, OAR, Prior Provincial of the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, assisted by concelebrating Recollect priests. In his homily, Rev. Fr. Selma focused the attention of the mass-goers to the goodness of the Lord who blessed us with our dear Mama Mary. He also exhorted everyone to emulate the example of Mama Mary as the Perfect Disciple.
Aside from the homily, the karakol, the offering of flowers by the children to the Virgin Mary, the long lines of communicants and the blessing of September birthday celebrants were the highlights of the High Mass. As they exited, mass-goers were treated to simple snacks offered by an ice cream cart, etc. and the Lions Club distributed free reading glasses.
Rev. Fr. Selma then proceeded to bless the 2nd and 3rd Floors of the Parish Pastoral Center which were recently completed, thanks to the generous contributions of the parishioners and their friends. After the blessing, parishioners were treated to a free, simple AGAPE potluck lunch with different viands amply contributed by the parish organizations and magnanimous donors. There were several waves of parishioners who partook of the AGAPE potluck lunch and, most, if not all, went home appreciating the lunch offered by a grateful parish.
Finally, parishioners joined the 6PM Procession of the image of Our Lady of Consolation as well as the images of the patron saints of the parish chapels and some Augustinian saints. Praying the rosary continuously as the procession circled around the Mira-Nila Subdivision, parishioners showed their devotion and expressed their gratitude to the Lady, the Mother who consoles them and who intercedes for them so powerfully to our loving God. Truly, Our Lady of Consolation helps us and brings us, her children in OLCP, closer to Jesus her Son and our Almighty Father. Praise be to God! Thank You for Mama Mary!