TRUST, LOVE, DEVOTION

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, John Carlo Villaruel, Norman V. Mendoza January 13,2017 - 11:58 PM
 Hundreds of devotees greet the arrival of the images of the Señor Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe at the St. Joseph Shrine by waving their hands and by raising with both hands their own statues of the Sto. Niño during the Jan. 13, 2017 Traslacion, or the transfer of the images from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu to Mandaue City’s parish church. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

Hundreds of devotees greet the arrival of the images of the Señor Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe at the St. Joseph Shrine by waving their hands and by raising with both hands their own statues of the Sto. Niño during the Jan. 13, 2017 Traslacion, or the transfer of the images from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu to Mandaue City’s parish church. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

Leonila Ponclara, even at 84 years old, made sure she was right there, along the street near her house in Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue City, with both hands raised and open palms moving from side to side in prayerful surrender, tears welling up her adoring eyes the moment she saw the images of the Señor Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Ponclara was one of the multitude of people who lined the streets to witness the annual Traslacion motorcade that brought the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu to Mandaue City.

Along the same 6.9-kilometer Traslacion route, an unbroken throng of devotees greeted the convoy of vehicles with dances, waving of hands, showers of flowers and even candies, and by displaying their own images of Sto. Niño and the Blessed Virgin on altars set up along the sidewalks.

Others released balloons and confetti while others decorated their houses and installed sound systems that played the Sto. Niño hymns and the iconic Sinulog beat song.

“Nagpasalamat kaayo ko og dako nga nabalik sa pag-agi diri ang Niño kay lisud na intawon kaayo para namong mga tiguwang nga makaadto sa Basilica,” said Ponclara.

(I am so grateful that the Sto. Niño is back in the usual route as coming to the Basilica is very difficult to us the elderly.)
It was a sight that awed Basilica rector Fr. Pacifico “Jun” Nohara Jr.

Nohara, who up until yesterday had not taken part in the Traslacion, turned emotional when he saw the multitude of devotees, a number of whom were in tears as they stood on the sidewalk to greet the passing images in the early morning motorcade.

“I was touched by what I saw. It was my first time to join the Traslacion. I could see the joy on the faces of people, and I was moved when I saw some of them crying,” he said in an interview at the St. Joseph’s Shrine.

“The people’s faith is very strong. They just could not stop going to the Sto. Niño,” he added.

Security concerns failed to stop the thousands of devotees from going out to the streets to witness the Traslacion.

But the police were also in full force, with at least 840 policemen deployed along the 6.9-km motorcade route from the Basilica to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City.

The motorcade, one of the highlights of the Fiesta Señor, the weeklong Feast of the Señor Sto. Niño celebration or the Sinulog Festival, was completed in two hours.

Revisit history

This morning, the image of the Child Jesus will be returned to Cebu City in a fluvial procession along the Mactan Channel starting at 6 a.m.

A reenactment of the first Mass, baptism and wedding in Philippine soil will follow at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center.
At 1:30 p.m., at least a million devotees are expected to join the solemn foot procession along the major roads of Cebu City.

The carrozas of St. Joseph, Our Lady of Consolation and the Sto. Niño de Cebu will pass by Osmeña Boulevard, General Maxilom Avenue, Imus Street, M.J. Cuenco Avenue, Urdaneta Street, P. Burgos Street and back to the Basilica.

A total of 2,585 policemen and military personnel will be deployed along the procession route, said Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of the Cebu City Police Office.

“The security arrangements are in place. It’s all systems go,” he told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

Upon the request of the Philippine National Police, telecommunication companies will shut down network services at the Basilica and the routes of the fluvial and solemn foot procession today.

The same security scheme will be used during the Sinulog Grand Parade tomorrow, Sunday.

Security concerns have been raised after rumors of bomb threats spread all over Cebu last Nov. 4, and the explosion that injured 32 persons, including 10 children, during a town fiesta in Hilongos, Leyte, last Dec. 28.

Based on the advisory of the National Telecommunications Commission, mobile phone signals will be shut down from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. in some areas of the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, particularly near the Mactan Channel, where the fluvial procession will be held.

From 12 noon to 8 p.m. today, mobile signals will be turned off in Cebu City for the solemn foot procession of the Sto. Niño.

Hundreds of devotees wave their hands at the image of the holy child Sto. Niño and his mother Our Lady of Guadalupe as they leave the basilica to St. Joseph shrine in Mandaue City for today's fluvial procession during the start of the traslacion (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

Hundreds of devotees wave their hands at the image of the holy child Sto. Niño and his mother Our Lady of Guadalupe as they leave the basilica to St. Joseph shrine in Mandaue City for today’s fluvial procession during the start of the traslacion (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA).

Prayers

The transfer of the images to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City portrays a reunion of the Holy Family: the Child Jesus, his mother Mary and foster father Joseph.

Among those who greeted the images were sick people who prayed for consolation and healing.

Thelma Cinco, of Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City, was asking the Sto. Niño to heal her 23-year-old son Jelito who is suffering from a rapid muscle growth disorder, which decreases body fat and doubles the body’s muscle mass.

“Hinaut pa unta kaloy-an mi sa Sto. Niño. (I hope the Sto. Niño will be merciful to us),” she said.

Fredeswindo Jabagat, 82, traveled from Ginatilan town, 145 km from Cebu City, to the Basilica to attend the novena Masses in honor of the Child Jesus.

He said he would just want to thank the Lord for all the blessings he received.

“I have a few more good years in my life and I’m enjoying it. I’m thankful for it. Everything I wished for was granted (by the Sto. Niño),” said Jabagat who has been a Sto. Niño devotee since he was 12 years old.

Walk with Mary

Earlier at dawn, thousands joined the penitential “Walk with Mary” from Fuente Osmeña to the centuries-old Basilica for the Misa de Traslacion.

A smaller image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu on board an andas or a flower-decked wooden platform was carried by men dressed in Camisa de Chino with blue and pink handkerchief wrapped around their necks.

In his homily, Fr. Manuel Tan, the team moderator of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, called on the faithful to achieve universal communion and unity by taking care of other people.

“We are connected to each other. We should be compassionate to everyone,” he said.

Tan particularly denounced the series of drug-related killings which he said showed the lack of regard to human life.

“If we hear of any drug suspect who got killed, we should not be happy. What if that happens to a member of your family? If you are happy, then your heart lacks tenderness and compassion,” he said.

Tan urged families to teach each member the right virtues.
“True communion starts in a family. The community can be defined by every family,” he said.

After the Mass, the image of the Sto. Niño was brought from its altar at the Pilgrim Center to a red pickup as the people sang “Bato-Balani sa Gugma,” an ancient hymn in honor of the Child Jesus.

Motorcade

Bells pealed as the image of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe emerged from the Basilica at 7 a.m., escorted by about 80 motorcycles and vehicles. When the motorcade reached the boundary of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue in Barangay Subangdaku, a red carpet was rolled out for the convoy.

Nohara and another Augustinian priest, who were on board the vehicle that carried the Sto. Niño, were welcomed by Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing, his wife Maricar and Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna.

Not a drop of rain fell during the Traslacion motorcade.

Hundreds of devotees including students did not mind the rain and terrorist threats as they as attended the afternoon mass (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Hundreds of devotees including students did not mind the rain and terrorist threats as they as attended the afternoon mass (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Wonderful, awesome

When the motorcade arrived at the National Shrine of St. Joseph at around 9 a.m., the church’s carillion bells pealed while students welcomed the images with Sinulog dances outside the jam-packed church.

Priests of the shrine led by Msgr. Daniel Sanico welcomed the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe through a Holy Mass.
“Each of us has a story to tell, an experience to narrate about the Sto. Niño. We come here because we were driven by something wonderful and awesome,” said Sanico in his homily.

Sanico encouraged the faithful to deepen their devotion to the Sto. Niño by doing what is pleasing to God.

“Let us not waste the sacrifices we made, the sleepless nights and the lack of rest for the Sto. Niño. May we experience transformation in our lives. Let us go beyond the Traslacion and find its deeper meaning in order to develop a personal and intimate relationship with God,” he said.

Sanico, also the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Cebu, likewise urged the faithful to care for the environment.

“We are called to do something good in our own little way. One person who does something good benefits everyone. But one person who does something bad brings misery to all. Let us do something good to please the Sto. Niño,” he said.

The theme for this year’s feast is “Santo Niño: Source of Communion, Protector of Creation,” which is patterned after the pastoral thrust of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on the Year of the Parish, and Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si on the care for the environment./with USJ-R INTERN John Carlo Villaruel

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TAGS: Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, CCPO, Cebu City Police Office, mandaue, Mandaue City, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Señor Sto. Niño, Sinulog Festival, Subangdaku

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