Men from the Agana parish guide the statue of the Sweet Name of Mary down the steps of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica to begin the traditional procession celebrating the feast of Dulce Nombre de Maria Saturday, Sept. 10. (Photo by Lester Gonzales/lgonzales@umatuna.org)

By Lester Gonzales
Umatuna Si Yu’os Staff

The parish of Agana celebrated its feast day in honor of Dulce Nombre de Maria, “Sweet Name of Mary” on Saturday Sept. 10 in Hagatna.

For nine days from September 2 to 9, the novena and Mass were celebrated each night at 6.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, the Church also celebrated the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Every night of the novena, a central theme was chosen to reflect on the role of the Blessed Mother in our lives. Father Jeffrey San Nicolas, Delegate to the Apostolic Administrator celebrated Mass in the afternoon on the last day of the novena. He was the main celebrant and homilist. The concelebrants were Father Paul Gofigan, Rector of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica; Monsignor David C. Quitugua, former Rector; Father Michael Jucatan; Father Tom McGrath, SJ and Father Francesco Asproni.

In his homily, Father Jeff asked, “What makes the Sweet name of Mary, sweet?”

“For me, the answer is obvious. What makes the name of Mary sweet is her Son Jesus Christ,” he said.

Father Jeff said that Mary’s “yes” to allow God to come in the world was a “yes” that she would be a conduit to take these concepts of the mercy of God; “that she would be “a conduit to make them real and tangible in our world through Jesus Christ. That we may want a true example of living mercy, a perfect mercy of her Son.”

“We pray to Mary because she is the first disciple who taught us Mercy,” Father Jeff added.

Father Jeff spoke about promoting mercy and faith. The challenge is how to bring God’s mercy to others, he said.

“The call for mercy is not just a challenge of God but the call for mercy is for all challenges,” he said. “All of us are called to bring mercy a reality to the world.”

The traditional procession in honor of Our Lady took place immediately after the Mass. The procession began at front of the Cathedral-Basilica and wound around and along the small road between the Academy of Our Lady of Guam and Plaza de Espana grounds.

Some 250 people took part in the procession. Many people prayed and sang hymns during the prayerful walk.

As the procession ended at the Cathedral-Basilica, named in honor of the Sweet Name of Mary, Father Jeff exclaimed, “Biba!” in honor of Our Lady.

The celebration continued with the traditional dinner gathering of the na taotao tumano which took place at the Academy grounds.

Biba Dulce Nombre de Maria!