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Let the Holy Spirit lead you to renewal, bishop reminds devotees

Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos Diocese, Philippines. (Photo credit: National Shrine of Our Lady of Salambao - San Pascual Baylon Parish Facebook Page)

A Filipino bishop reminded Catholic devotees of popular piety to allow the Holy Spirit to guide them toward total renewal. 

“We are devotees. We are Christians. We are not pagans. Let us preserve our religious traditions… but let us strive to deepen it… This is about receiving the Holy Spirit,” said Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo.

The prelate was delivering the homily during the Fiesta Mass on the last day of the Fertility Dance Festival in Obando, Bulacan.

In the Philippines, dancing in prayer is a common form of popular piety that barren couples who are trying to conceive particularly practice.

Bishop Dennis underlined that when engaging in such public acts of religiosity, one must always remember the Holy Spirit.

“If we are dancing to God and asking Him for a child, it will not magically happen,” said the bishop. “We are dancing in the joy of the Holy Spirit, and we hope that it will also lead to full conversion.”

“We are alive not because we dance [in prayer], but because the Holy Spirit lives within you… and moves your soul,” he also said.

Bishop Dennis also emphasized that the Obando Fertility Dance should encourage devotees to exercise self-control.

“Even though we are happily dancing on the streets, may we never forget to strive for the Holy Spirit to be felt by others through our everyday lives,” he explained. “This is the mark that we are genuine devotees.”

Every year from May 17 to 19, the Obando Fertility Dance, a religious celebration that dates back to the 18th century, takes place.

Devotees dance in prayer to emulate the parish’s titular, Saint Paschal Baylon, who was famous for entering a trance while praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament, causing him to dance.

Along with Saint Pashal Baylon, devotees also venerate two other saints: Saint Clare of Assisi and the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Our Lady of Salambao.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) elevated the Catholic Church in Obando to the status of national shrine in honor of Our Lady of Salambao in 2022.


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