The International Pilgrims Congress (IPC) at the Peñafrancia Basilica in the City of Naga on September 16-17, 2010 will highlight the 300 year old gift of devotion to Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
Over the centuries, the devotion to Ina has taken root indeed in various parts of the country and of the continents. The IPC will then be an opportunity for these devotees to know what has been going on with the devotion from its beginnings until this year, with the culminating celebration tendered to Ina by all her devotees, and to more intensely take a part —– as well as give a part —-– of the celebration for the good of their persons, their faith and devotion, from where they come and to where they will return – as devotees of Ina.
The IPC is a pilgrimage which means that the pilgrim is separated from ordinary concerns in society, is turned to the church-community of Christians like oneself, and is to be eventually reintegrated back to society, hopefully, now acting together vitally.
For the event to be a significant and fruitful experience, the IPC encapsulates the aims of the past three years of preparation —– gratitude for the gift of devotion, renewal of devotion in faith, and sharing the faith of the church in society.
As the theme of the culminating celebration goes back to the general theme of the Tercentenary: “Thanksgiving, for growing in holiness under the manto of INA,” a particular goal for the IPC emerges, the gratitude in being given the responsibility to grow in holiness like Ina herself.
The particular goal for the IPC leads is specific (in accordance with the three-year preparation) – gratitude for the responsibility for holiness, like Mary, sharing the faith of the church in society. More simply put, the responsibility for holiness in society.
This specific aim puts the oft-invoked “pueblo amante de Maria” in a Christian social context. This much P. Benedict XVI has proposed in “Deus caritas est” as a “formation of heart” towards Christian solidarity. In another way, the specific aim of the IPC may be expressed in Bikol as “Pakikihimanwa: Forming a heart of holiness for the country and the world.”
These goals indicate the means for IPC pilgrims to participate in the general celebration of the Tercentenary, to experience and express concerns (confirmations and challenges) to the devotion and the faith in their own contexts, and to contribute to common learning and commitment for the good of the church, through the devotion, in society.
The general schedule for the pilgrims:
On September 16 (Thursday):
Immediately after their arrival, the pilgrims will be presented and be treated to a fiesta activity from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. At 5:00 P.M. a novena Mass will be held at the Cathedral and an in-gathering celebration and cultural presentation will be made for the pilgrims.
Regional and continental groups are invited to render one cultural number that can be meaningful for the spirit of the congress and fellow pilgrims. The presentation will be brief enough to be performed by all members or the majority in the continent. Regional and continental groups are asked to submit what number they are to perform and its meaning. This is to help program facilitators do justice to the prepared numbers by properly grouping them, scheduling them in sequence as well as providing for the props as may be needed.
At 10:00 in the evening, a perdon procession will be held.
On September 17 (Friday):
At 8:00 AM there is an Enthronement of the Bible celebration to be followed by an orientation to the Congress and introduction of key note speaker who is Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D. He will speak on Urbi et Obi (Looking at Life and Listening to God) and on “ Pakihimanwa as forming a heart of holiness for the country and the world”.
A health break follows at 10:00 AM and a reflection on 10:30.
Lunch break is at 12:00 noon and at 1:30 reports about the reflection will be processed. The second reflection follows at 2:30 in the afternoon.
At 4:00 the draft of the IPC Statement of Solidarity and Commitment will be presented.
After a short health break, the penitential rite and confessions as well as the Novena Mass to be officiated by Archbishop Legaspi and the Reading of Congress Statement of Solidarity and Commitment will follow.
The evening of the Congress will be capped by a barrio fiesta atmosphere with presentation by Group B regions and continents, and guest performers and the singing of Auld Lang Syne and Magnificat.