On May 12, the Archdiocese Filipino Ministry celebrated its 14th Annual Santacruzan-May Crowning at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.  

Father Alex Aclan, Vicar of Clergy presided over the Mass, concelebrated with Father Albert Avenido, chaplain and moderator of the Filipino Ministry and Pastor of St. Philomena Parish and Father Juan Ochoa, associate pastor of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Santacruzan-May Crowning is a cultural and religious festival introduced to the Philippines by the Spanish colonizers in the 1800s to evangelize the populace. It has since become part of Filipino traditions focused on the youth and their devotion to emulate the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It commemorates the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the emperor who made Christianity as Rome’s national religion. May Crowning honors the Mother of God, as well, by crowning her statue or icon with the flowers of spring enacting crowning of the Queen of Heaven.

Primarily a faith formation program for the Fil-Am youth and children in the Archdiocese, all major participants of its Santacruzan-May Crowning undergo a day’s retreat, after which major titles such as Reynas (queen titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary) are awarded to the aspirants who have best articulated both in writing and in personal interview how they wanted to pattern their lives according to the virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

This year’s top three Reynas were Reyna Elena — Ayris Mauricio from the Santa Maria Bulacan Association, Reyna Emperatriz — Lorimelle Grace R. Beltran from the 2000 Hail Marys Devotional Group and Reyna De Las Flores — Justine Franchesca S. Ramos from the Santa Maria Bulacan Association.

The “Sagalas,” young girls and women with titles of Angeles (angels), Estrellas (stars) and Reynas (queens) processed in the celebration as the Court of Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  They were presented to the congregation together with the members of the ethnic communities who bear popular images of the Virgin Mary from their country of origin.  

A number of religious and devotional groups processed in with different statues of the Blessed Mother, and they were joined by several civic organizations led by the Philippine Consulate General of LA. 

A Eucharistic Celebration was held and before it ended, the image of La Purisima Inmaculada Concepcion, from Santa Maria Bulacan Association-West Coast, was crowned. This was followed by a flower offering to the Blessed Mother by boys and girls from different devotional organizations and the blessing of different Blessed Virgin Mary images. 

Reyna Elena Ayris Mauricio crowns the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Photo courtesy Filipino Ministry)

This event was made possible through the generosity of the benefactors known as “Hermanas.”  The “Hermanas Menores” are Fe E. Montano and Cristel Serrano-Goco. The “Hermanas Mayores” are Maria Luz Cayabyab, Yolanda Versoza Cirilo, Lourdes Cronin, Ami Nakagiri and Erlinda Olivera.

In the evening, the celebration was capped by a Dinner-Dance Award Night where the Sagalas and Hermanas and their escorts were acknowledged and awarded their certificates and plaques.  The Santacruzan-May Crowning 2018 committee was chaired by Arnel Bailon and Fe Amit.