Fiesta Señor 2021 to be celebrated minus some events
Organizers to focus on week-long Novena Masses
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Fiesta Señor 2021 is expected to be celebrated minus some key events due to the continuous threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Organizers of the Fiesta Señor from the city government and the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu announced in a press conference on Monday, November 9, 2020, that they will be temporarily foregoing most of the events usually held during the week-long celebration. These include the penitential Walk with Jesus, Walk with Mary, the Solemn Foot Procession, Traslacion, Fluvial Procession, and the proposed province-wide motorcade after its culmination.
“We are aware that the external activities such as the Solemn Foot Procession outside the Basilica are crowd-growers. So as crowd-growers, especially they’re venerating the Señor Sto. Niño, daghan gyud ang mga tawo madrawn (a lot of people will get drawn),” said Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, spokesperson of the Basilica.
As a result, Reyes said all organizers of the Fiesta Señor will be focusing on conducting the week-long Novena Masses, which is scheduled to start on January 8, 2021.
Reyes also said they will be capping the maximum number of attendees inside the Basilica up to 1,000 only for every Novena Mass.
“We will also be placing distancing markers outside (the Basilica) for those who will not be accommodated inside. Rest assured, Novena Masses will be done virtually, also,” he added.
The Fiesta Señor is organized by friars from the Basilica and officials from the city government.
It is a week-long religious celebration in honor of Señor Sto. Niño. The culmination of the event is annually held every third Sunday of January together with the secular celebration of the equally famous Sinulog Festival.
Earlier, the city government was raising the possibility of recommending to Augustinian friars to cancel the external activities of the Fiesta Señor, citing health concerns.
However, Basilica rector Fr. Pacifico ‘Jun’ Nohara Jr., in the same press conference, said the external activities for the Fiesta Señor next year will instead be reappropriated to be included in the upcoming quincentenary celebration of the arrival of Christianity, which is spearheaded by the Archdiocese of Cebu.
“We would like to ask for the public’s understanding of why we made this decision which we deliberated for around seven weeks. We took serious consideration over the health of our devotees, considering that COVID-19 is still here,” said Nohara in a mix of Cebuano and English.
For the city government’s part, Mayor Edgardo Labella said they will still provide assistance and support to the Basilica, even if the external events for the Fiesta Señor 2021 have already been cancelled.
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