One of the major activities that fall under the Marian Affairs Ministry is the annual National Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (the Birhen ng Antipolo or BNA for short). It is attended by a large membership of the KFI-M.E. Ministry community. This is usually celebrated yearly on the last Saturday of June. Pilgrims join from all over the United States and abroad to pay homage to the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Antipolo, enshrined at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. This full-day event includes a Novena prayer, the sacrament of Reconciliation, Serenade to the Blessed Mother by various choruses, recitation of the Rosary, procession of images and statues of the Blessed Mother, and a Eucharistic celebration. The festivity ends with a procession to the BNA Oratory immediately following the final blessing.
The 20th Anniversary of the dedication of the Oratory of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was celebrated last June 24, 2017 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. For the past twenty years, devotees of BNA in the United States, Canada, and the Philippines, as well as other Catholic ethnic groups in the US, have attended this religious festivity. Birhen ng Antipolo U.S.A., Inc. (BNA USA, Inc.), a non-profit organization, is the ministry that sponsors and coordinates the National Annual Pilgrimage, in coordination with the different religious groups in the United States. Every year, the ministry invites a Filipino Bishop or Cardinal to give the homily and celebrate the Liturgy. For the 20th anniversary, we were privileged to have as our homilist and principal celebrant His Excellency Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.
How did this popular annual pilgrimage to the capital city come about and how is the KFI community involved? In October 24, 1997, the same year the Oratory was officially inaugurated and dedicated, the BNA USA, Inc. was also officially formed. It has since been headed by Eduardo D. Caparas as first President and Chairman. Presently, it has His Eminence Donald Cardinal W. Wuerl (Archdiocese of Washington D.C.) as Honorary Chairman of the Board, Antonio Cardinal Luis Tagle (Archdiocese of Manila) and Archbishop William Edward Lori (Archdiocese of Baltimore, MD) as Episcopal Moderators and Ex-Officio Members of the Board, and Rev. Msgr. Godfrey Mosley as the Spiritual Advisor. Our very own Brother Conrad Felix was appointed as the Special Liaison & Area Coordinator for East Coast since the formation of the BNA USA, Inc. until his death in 2015. In 2016, the BNA USA, Inc. Board of Directors appointed Brother Charlie Abalos to take the place of Bro. Conrad Felix.
The KFI community plays a big part in the entire pilgrimage event. Not only does it encourage and bring a lot of devotees to the Basilica by chartered bus, but it also has three permanent choir groups that sing at the Serenata event of the pilgrimage. Furthermore, every year KFI is asked to assign its members to participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist such as Scripture reading, gift offering, and other parts of the Mass. KFI also owns a big statue of the Birhen ng Antipolo that is maintained and cared for by the Calvis family. This same statue has been brought to the pilgrimage event every year to be part of the procession of the Marian images during the Serenata. KFI is the evangelizing arm of BNA USA, Inc.
Our goal every year is to reach out to as many Catholics and invite them to join the pilgrimage.
For more information on the Washington DC Pilgrimage, click BNA Link.