Pinoy devotees in California mark feast of the Assumption
By Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
August 31, 2019
VALLEJO, California— Leyteños from across Northern California gathered here recently to celebrate the feast of their hometown’s patron.
In a belated celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Assumption, the event gathered Tanauan natives and other Filipinos at the St. Basil Church on Aug. 24.
The Mass was presided over by Filipino-American Fr. Jeremy Santos, the church’s parochial vicar under the Diocese of Sacramento.
The feast, celebrated on Aug. 15, is the oldest of all festivals of Mary.
Albeit a week late this year, the celebration has been year yearly tradition organized by the Tanuan Leyte Assumption Society (TLAS) and its spin-off outreach arm Tanuan Leyte Assumption Foundation.
Elizabeth Buban-Ortiz, a native of Tanauan but has long been a US citizen, recalled how she got involved into the devotion and the yearly tradition.
She said that since her arrival in the US in 1976, her mother would bring her to prayer gatherings and meetings with other Filipinos.
Among those which she could fondly recall was the Santa Cruzan where among the participants was the TLAS.
During August, they always celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Assumption, the patron saint of her mother’s hometown Leyte.
She said that the nine months prior to the feast, they usually hold a monthly Novena in her honor.
Having to drive for her mother Josefa, now deceased, she became actively involved and developed the devotion to Our Lady of the Assumption.
In the local tradition, which they follow in Northern California, an image of Our Lady of Assumption goes to the house of the hermana where the monthly prayer devotion is said.
Buban-Ortiz recalled that when her family, along with few relatives, were the main sponsors, they said the novena prayer in their Waray language.
“Every time the image of Our Lady of Assumption was in the house, I feel the love, joy and happiness and feel so specially blessed,” she said.
“And every time I asked for help my petition was always granted. Every time there were obstacles in my life, I asked the Lady in Blue and her eyes will look at me as if she is talking back to me,” the devotee added.
The TLAS and TLAF members who are devotees of Our Lady of Assumption do not confine their fervor in church-related events.
The officers and members and families get involved as well in humanitarian outreach activities like donating goods to the needy in Tanauan and sending poor students to school. CBCPNEWS