One of the major religious events celebrated by the Fil-Aus community is the feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia. The event involved celebrated Triduum Masses before the actual feast day on the third Saturday in September. In addition, the Replica of Our Lady of Penafrancia and Banner of El Divino Rostro visit three parishes in the Diocese of Parramatta three Saturdays before the Feast Day.
On the actual feast day, a fluvial procession is held in the Nepean River after the Mass at the St Nicholas of Myra Parish Church, Penrith.
The last celebration at the church, the fluvial procession and the free community lunch where dancers and singers performed were held in September 2019. In attendance were local government officials and Philippine Consulate officials led by then Consul General Ezzedin Tago. There were also two dragon boats from Wentworth Point-Rhodes area which participated in the fluvial procession.
Due to the pandemic, last year and this year's joint celebrations of the 16th Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia and the 175th apparition of Our Lady of La Salette will be through livestreamed Mass. This will be held tomorrow, September 18.
One of the key community leaders involved in the celebration of ADOLP is Jun Relunia (OAM). The Australian Filipina is glad to share the background information on the event provided by him, shown below:
"The devotion to our Lady of Penafrancia, the Patroness of Bicol, started when my late mother Atty Maria Relunia and my sister Mila Calacala requested permission in 2005 from the Archdiocese of Caceres to start public devotion in Australia. A priest from the Archdiocese of Caceres Fr Nonong Mallari brought the Replica of Our Lady of Penafrancia and the banner of El Divino Rostro to St Michael's Church Blacktown where the first mass was held in May 2006 with overflowing devotees.
"There are miracles attributed thru the intercession of Our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Penafrancia with the first miracle reported in1710 when a seminarian was cured of his illness. ADOLP participated in the celebration of the 300 years of devotion in Naga City in 2010. There was also an international conference of devotees coming from all over the world.
"ADOLP's propagation of the devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia is under the guidance of the Basilica of Penafrancia and Diocese of Parramatta. Her home for the past 15 years is St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith NSW. "