Ilocos, Philippines- As we remain open and alive to our formation, in the footsteps of Father de Montfort, more opportunities favorable to this objective keep on unfolding. Recently, from 6th - 8 th March, we joined the Filipino Montfort Lay Associates in their 19th pilgrimage to the northern part of the country, in Ilocos. This trip was well organized by the lay people themselves, in collaboration with some of our Montfortian confreres involved in the ministry of Marian Spirituality. The purpose of the pilgrimage was to inspire our daily commitment to live the gospel from our hearts as well as to pray for peace in the world. There, in Ilocos, we visited at least seven religious sites, mostly churches that were founded way back in the 16th century. Their structures and external appearance seem to narrate well history, despite undergoing some mild renovations through the centuries. We also managed to visit other historical places like the old Vigan city, one of the seven wonder cities of the world. In all these places and in the course of two days we tried to give meaning to the whole experience, as one family, through the traditional Montfortian prayers, the way of the cross, reflecting on the inspiring stories behind some of the churches. And, of course, the interaction among the pilgrims was very enriching too. Cementing everything was the holy Eucharistic celebration, on Monday morning, before our departure back to Manila. On our part, as novices, sharing in this experience has given us an extra mile as far as discerning the will of God in our hearts is concerned. Though we seemed physically exhausted, after the long trip back home, we felt spiritually refreshed and our missionary zeal was inflamed. Seen in the context of the Lenten season, the whole experience appeared to have engraved in everyone’s heart the reminder of our day to day’s journey toward Jesus living in Mary.
-Bro. Innocent Ignatius Mwanoka, nSMM