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Pilgrimage shrine ready for upgrade.

MANAOAG -- With barely a week before its proclamation as a minor basilica on Feb. 17, the Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag Church here is being spruced up to live up to its new title.

Last month, the sidewalks of the driveway leading to the church's front yard were cleared of vendors, providing pilgrims an unobstructed view of the church's facade.

At least 37 statues of saints, sculpted by Conrado Balubayan, are now perched on the posts of the church's fence and on 20 columns lining both sides of the driveway.

Fr. Ronald Mactal, the church's chaplain and liturgist, said the image of the Our Lady of Manaoag, known as the "Blessed Mother," will get a new set of vestment for the proclamation.

He said the vestment's materials came from France and Spain. It would be gold in color and would come with a blue cape. "It's very beautiful. It's really high quality, fit for a Pope," he said.

The Blessed Mother wears a new dress only twice a yearduring this town's feast in May and the feast of the Our Lady of the Rosary in October.

But Mactal said with the church's proclamation as a minor basilica, the image of the Virgin Mary had to wear a new dress because the ceremony will be Pangasinan's "grandest celebration."

Aside from the country's 60 bishops and government officials, also expected to attend is Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the papal nuncio to the Philippines.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 12, 2015
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