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Flotilla of boats on Broads to honour Our Lady

A colourful flotilla of boats took part in a river procession, in honour of Our Lady of Peafrancia, from Wroxham in Norfolk on September 18.

penafranciabishop500The Our Lady of Peafrancia Feast and Fluvial Procession began at the bridge in Wroxham when up to 400 Catholic devotees from across the east of England took to three large Broads cruisers and 13 smaller ones.

The river procession was undertaken to honour the first miraculous healing attributed to Our Lady of Peafrancia which happened in 1712 on the river at Naga City in the Bicol region of the Philippines, explained organiser Al Garchitorena.

"The occasion is also a thanksgiving to the river since it was mode of transportation and a source of water for irrigation for farms which helps to have a good harvest. The celebration is patterned and held on the same date back in the Philippines.

"The procession was organised by devotees from Norwich, headed by the Tribu Bicolandia, which aims to continue and share the devotion even they are thousands of miles away from home in the Philippines," said Al.

Groups from different areas both inside and outside the Diocese of East Anglia took part including from: King’s Lynn, Gorleston, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Stevenage, Colchester, Fleggburgh, North Walsham, Louth, Lincoln and Boston. The number of devotees who participated in the occasion was estimated at 600.

The procession continued from the Broads toSt Helen’s Church, at Hoveton where Bishop Alan joined them for Mass. It was concelebrated by Fr Chris Fajardo, Sj, a graduate student at the University of Oxford.

The procession was the sixth such annual event and next year's will take place on September 17, 2017.

More details at:

Pictures by Rob Wheeldon.