Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan



Facade of Shrine of Our Lady of Namacpacan

The year 1690 saw the birth of a new town as idyllic in its formation as its name implies. Situated along the fringes of Northern La Union coasting the China Sea, it was named Namacpacan to glorify the native trait of hospitality which the residents showed towards the people of neighboring towns who retreated to its thick forests persecuted as they were by the colonizers.

It was in the year 1871 that an image of Our Lady was brought along its shores by a stroke of fate which eventually became venerated as the Image of Our Lady of Namacpacan.

The image was ordered from Spain by a certain Augustinian priest then assigned to one of the towns of Ilocos Sur. Brought to the Philippines in a galleon, it was heading for the province of Ilocos Sur when a storm forced the crew to seek shelter at Darigayos, a barrio of the town then named Namacpacan.

When finally, the storm abated, they tried to resume their journey, but strong winds forced them back to the port. Several attempts were made to sail but each time their progress was impeded by the winds. Finally the captain of the ship decided to carry the statue to the port and to have it carried over land to its destination.

Image of Our Lady of Namacpacan

Again the natives met with the same transportation difficulties when the box containing the image could not be budged an inch by them, so that after several unsuccessful attempts were made, they began to conclude that Our Blessed Lady must have chosen the town of Namacpacan for her sanctuary.

The parish priest of Namacpacan, Rev. Fr. Marcelino Ceballos, negotiated a transaction with the Augustinian Friar who came to claim the statue and the sacred image was finally ceded to Namacpacan. The statue was carried in procession to the Church of Namacpacan. It was a big feast that marked the arrival of Our Lady in town. The townspeople came out in their best to meet the Image of Our Lady which they enshrined in the parish church and which came to be known as Our Lady of Namacpacan. The town's name was changed to Luna in 1906 to honor the Luna brothers whose mother hails from that place. However, the townspeople became so attached to Our Lady that the name Our Lady of Namacpacan remained in spite of the changed name of the town.

Many are the amazing happenings attributed by the townspeople to Our Lady of Namacpacan. One of them is the instant cure of a certain Rosa Roldan who was born lame. She claimed that Our Lady came to her home and restored to her the ability to walk. It was during this period that some pagans and Igorots came down from the highlands to fulfill a mission ordained by a beautiful Senora who appeared to them in their mountain homes to go to Luna to be baptized and to kiss the sacred image of Our Lady. In the year 1850, the townspeople were astounded by effulgence emanating from the statue of Our Lady, filling the whole church with its brilliance. Devotion to Our Lady grew with the years that it was no uncommon sight to see the town plaza flooded with carts bearing devotees from neighboring towns and provinces.

By special Decree of Pope John XXIII, Our Lady of Namacpacan was canonically crowned on November 24, 1959.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from pinaytraveljunkie.com and flickr.com.

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