Last 16 July, I, along with countless others, celebrated the feast of our Lady, Queen Beauty of Mt. Carmel. The strongest and most tangible association we devotees have with our Blessed Mother under this title is the Brown Scapular, which was revealed to St. Simon Stock more than 700 years ago.
For more than 13 years now, I’ve been reciting the novena to our Blessed Queen of Mt. Carmel but it has only been roughly 8 years since I began to religiously attend a fiesta/feast day Mass in her honor at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the mother church of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.
Like before when I first attended one, I heard the feast day Mass at the National Shrine of Mt. Carmel, a cavernous church found in Broadway, New Manila, a good 10-minute-ride away from my house. It used to have a very stern facade but since it was renovated two years ago, it now sports a friendlier ambiance. Unlike in the past 8 years, I attended a morning fiesta Mass and not the High Mass fiesta Mass celebrated at 6:00 PM. The latter rite is usually followed by a procession and fireworks display.
Similar to last year (when the church was pitchblack due to Typhoon Glenda that hit Metro Manila that day), the image of Our Lady was placed on top of the squat retablo in the middle of the sanctuary. Festooned with flowers and illuminated by candles, the new set-up showcased our Blessed Mother’s statue atop the main retablo. Unfortunately, no crucifix was visible except the free-standing one, placed on the side of the altar.
Nevertheless, it was a beautiful Liturgy capped off with the singing of the Salve Regina and the blessing and imposition of Brown Scapulars.