Last August 11, I was fortunate to have attended the feast of St. Philomena at the Holy Redeemer Parish in QC. See related post here. I said fortunate because there are still too many challenges I need to contend with however perhaps she really wanted me to be there and benfefit from the graces of the sacraments.
Usually I attend the noon time or afternoon mass so I really targetted 430pm but then I got delayed and was able to leave the house only by 4pm. Since there was not much traffic, I decided to pass by the Universal Living Rosary Association of SAINT PHILOMENA National Center in Mayon St. before I proceed to the church. I wanted to buy some holy oil but it was out of stock. They still import it from Italy. I then decided to just pray in front of the saint’s image located at the patio. It was a good time since I was the only one there except for the volunteer ladies of the center. Usually the place is packed specially during lunch as it is a tradition to feed every pilgrim visiting the center on the feast day of the saint.
After praying and a quick snack (they served good pasta and dessert) we drove to the Holy Redeemer Parish. We were still early and able to park nearby. It was good I was early as I was able to catch a shorter line in kissing the relic of St. Philomena.
I was able to say my private devotions at the altar of St. Philomena after then the novena started. Right below the statue is a red casing where the holy relics of the saint are kept.
The last mass of the day was celebrated by Fr. Zerrudo, one of the spiritual directors of the Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena. After the mass, we all lined up to be blessed with the holy oil.
I was about to proceed to the exhibit located at the back of the church when I saw two friends, one was Celia who I met only once during a travel convention where I spoke, and Luchi, a classmate in Ayurveda. It was a small world since I never knew they were both devotees of the saint. Luchi said she had been attending the annual feast but I never saw her the past years and Celia just learned of the feast celebrated in Holy Redeemer because she read my blog which I posted also in facebook. Nothing is by chance. I supposed I attended the last mass so I can see them.
The exhibit located at the parish grounds showed pictures, prayers and stories about St. Philomena and people whose lives were touched by the martyr saint.
Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, and patron of parish priests is a known devotee of St. Philomena. Saint John Vianney himself called Philomena the New Light of the Church Militant, and had a strong and well-known devotion to her. Others with known devotion to her include Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Saint Euphrasia Pelletier, Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, Saint John Nepomucene Neumann, Saint Madeline Sophie Barat, Saint Peter Chanel, Saint Peter Julian Eymard, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, and Venerable Pauline Jaricot.