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Island faithful celebrate Blessed Mother

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It's one of the most celebrated days for the island's religious. Thousands of devote members of the Catholic faithful gathered in the streets around the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica for mass and the annual procession in honor of the island's patron saint, Santa Marian Kamalen.

She's the patron saint for our island. No wonder so many, like Marie Arriola Pablo, turn to Santa Marian Kamalen in their time of need. "We're here today to honor our Blessed Mother for having done so much good to our island - not only to our island, I think it's even to myself," he shared.

Pablo gives examples from her life - when her basic needs couldn't be met - that the Blessed Mother answered her prayers. "I told our Blessed Mother that I really need help, can she please help me. And I remember that she had provided me all my needs," she explained.

And again, when her sister needed a heart transplant, the Blessed Mother delivered. "After praying so much the divine mercy and the rosary, today she's alive and she had a heart transplant," she said.

With Pablo today, to celebrate mass and walk the procession, is her 82-year-old mother, Carmen. "Si Santa Maria, guiya na nanan yu'os yan nana todus i taotao siha," she said in Chamorro, saying, "Santa Maria is the mother of Jesus and all the people."

The women were joined by 83-year-old Nely Alcaraz Tinsay, a regular at the annual celebration. "If I'm here on island. I usually attend the procession," she said.  She choked back tears as she reflected on a dark past, a time when she considered taking her own life, but her faith saved her. "Though the intercession of Mother Mary ,the divine mercy and the lord Jesus," she prayed.

"I'm here to thank Mama Mary."

Both Pablo and Tinsay also credit the Blessed Mother for keeping our island safe, most notably from the destruction of typhoons. "At every instant, when I hear typhoons near Chuuk, I start asking our Blessed Mother to help us to please help us release the typhoon into the ocean," Pablo said.

Tinsay added, "There was one time we had typhoon. Typhoon was coming. And I said Mama Mary, how can we have the procession? Right then they brought out Mama Mary and it stopped raining, raining very hard, but it stopped raining."

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