Celebration in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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Father Jay Philip Ramos, AM and Father Thomas Newton, pastor of the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light, Cherry Hill, with Julianna Rustia-Serrano and Isabella Rustia-Serrano.
Some of the participants in the Santacruzan 2019 at Christ our Light.
At the Santacruzan celebration at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Williamstown, Emilia Juarez crowns the Blessed Mother. —– Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

As a Filipino priest, and one who belongs to the Religious Community of the Disciples of Mary, assigned to the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light in Cherry Hill, I feel greatly privileged to be part of this Santacruzan 2019.

I would like to extend my words of gratitude and prayers to all the Filipinos who belong to different parishes, who give their time, effort and support for this annual celebration of Santacruzan in the Diocese of Camden organized by the Filipino Apostolate of South Jersey. On this 15th year celebration, I want to thank Bishop Dennis Sullivan for showing his support by celebrating Mass and joining in the procession in Cherry Hill May 19 with Father Tom Newton, pastor of Christ our Light, Father Cosme De la Pena and Father Raymond Vijandre, AM.

Looking back on my childhood days in my small town in the Philippines, Santacruzan is one of my favorite memories and an event that I always looked forward to in the month of May. The community members gathered in the chapel to pray the rosary and offer flowers to the Blessed Virgin Mary to honor her as Mother of God. After that there was a procession in the town to commemorate the finding of true cross of Jesus in Jerusalem by Empress Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great.

At a young age, this experience helped foster my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and helped me to see the Cross of Jesus as a reminder of his love for all of us.

To all the Filipinos, even though we are far from our homeland, we are called to continue to celebrate and to share our Filipino religious tradition here in the United States and to pass this important tradition on the next generation.

Father Jay Philip Ramos, AM is parochial vicar at the Catholic Community of Christ Our Light, Cherry Hill.