Dancing through the Rain - Megan Gilbert
In mid-September, Our Casa Bayanihan group was privileged to travel to Naga, Philippines, to attend the Peñafrancia Festival, a form of devotion to “Momma Mary” in which a people march with a sacred statue of Jesus’ mother around the city. It was the first time Casa had made the trip, and the pilgrimage was very life-giving in many ways. We got to partake in the Voyadores Festival in which groups of students from various schools dress in colorful costumes and perform elaborate dances in honor of Mary. The cheers and the vitality of the crowds were contagious as we clapped and joined in shouting “Viva!”
Capturing the Filipino spirit of dancing through the rain at the Voyadores Festival!
Casa Batch 6, as we call ourselves, got to meet with the families of four of the five Ateneo de Naga students. What a blessing it was to share delicious meals and quality time with loved ones of new and endearing friends. Another gift involved getting to meet Ateneo de Naga students from Casa Batch 5 and share stories of our praxis sites and of life after Casa. Reflecting with others on the meaning of pilgrimage as it applies to Peñafrancia, Casa, and our earthly journeys was beautiful in that we discerned the importance of appreciating the preset voyage and not always focusing on a destination in the future. I heard different U.S. and Filipino perspectives about personal significances of Mary, devotion, the festival, and communal expressions of faith.