16 July 2014 would go down in modern Manila urban history as the day when Typhoon Glenda wreaked havoc on the city with its powerful winds that ripped-off malls’ facades, caused glass doors and walls to break, tearing-off tarpaulin advertisements and uprooting ancient trees.
There were cars that were squished by big branches and houses’ roofs blown away by Glenda’s torrential winds.
But much worse was the black-out that the entire metropolis and neighboring provinces most especially Cavite endured. Large portions of the city suffered black-outs for long days while some even suffered water supply interruptions.
16 July, however, is an important date for me and countless devotees as it is the solemn feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the patroness of the Brown Scapular.
On that day, as I have practiced for years, I went to hear the fiesta Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Broadway, New Manila, Quezon City. I actually still went to work that day but by 3:00 PM, I headed back to Quezon City. By then, we still didn’t have electricity. By 5:00 PM, electric power had returned to our barangay, thus I was expecting that New Manila too would have electricity by then.
When I arrived at the church, it was quite dark. I thought that maybe they were just saving the lights for the fiesta Mass.
But as the Mass proceeded well into the Liturgy, and as the evening grew darker, it was obvious that the entire festivities will be celebrated in darkness.
True enough, the homilist (the new Parish Priest of Carmel) admitted that we will finish the Mass in darkness as the generator exploded only 10 minutes before the Mass!
But the good priest delivered a very good homily that truly encapsulated the experience.
The theme was the “dark night” – a very Carmelite theme, I must say.
In the darkness of our lives, we experience the moving glimmer of Faith that burns and warms the hearts of countless souls through the centuries. The power of Faith was indeed best described by the experience.
In the cavernous shrine, only the sanctuary was lit. Candles and emergency lights provided the only signs of brightness in the very spacious and high church.
Hundreds of people remained and finished the rites and it was truly a showcase of Faith.
It was a beautiful experience in honor of our beloved patrona, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Viva a la Virgen del Carmen!