Pilgrimage of 25,000 people to Mt. Samat offered to ‘Yolanda’ victims

PILAR, Bataan, Dec. 1 (PNA)–The Diocese of Balanga on Saturday dedicated the pilgrimage to historic Mount Samat here of more than 25,000 people, mostly youth, to victims of typhoon “Yolanda”.

Bishop Ruperto C. Santos said the pilgrimage was the 10th yearly event which started in 2004 to mark the First Sunday of Advent.

“We asked God to bring our prayer for our countrymen in the Visayas and we are offering this Holy Mass to them,” Santos said.

The bishop said the love offering collected during the Holy Mass would also be donated to victims of the super typhoon.

He said the collections would be in addition to donations already sent to areas hit by “Yolanda” and the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

The Bataan bishop said the donations already sent were cash for P50,000 to the Archdiocese of Cebu; P100,000 to Archdiocese of Palo (Leyte); P200,000 to Diocese of Talibon (Bohol); P356,000 to Diocese of Tagbilaran (Bohol) and P200,000 to Caritas Manila or a total of P906,000.

“We will also send cash donations in the amount of P1.433 million for the Archdiocese of Capiz and Dioceses of San Jose (Mindoro), Naval (Biliran), Antique, Romblon and Masbate and the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (Palawan),” he said.

Santos asked the devotees crowding every portion of the War Memorial Shrine for a one- minute silent prayer.

“Let us ask that the victims be blessed and lift them up to the Lord,” he said.

Santos led the kick-off of the pilgrimage at the foot of the hallowed mountain.

The pilgrims prayed the Holy Rosary before hiking seven kilometers uphill through the winding road to the War Memorial Shrine where the Holy Mass was held.

Some priests and groups continued praying the Holy Rosary as they climbed the mountain.

Balanga City mayor Jose Enrique Garcia and wife were among those who joined the thousands in walking towards the shrine.

Fr. Jhoen Buenaventura, diocesan youth director, extolled the youth for their big role in the pilgrimage.

Pilar Mayor Alice Pizarro said that from 20,000 to 30,000 people participate in the yearly affair.(PNA)