#CDNFiestaSenor2022: Venerating the Holy Child Then & Now
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Due to the prevailing threats of COVID-19, this 2022, the celebration of the Fiesta Señor, will once again, be held virtually.
It’s the second straight year where throngs of the crowd are absent around the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, and devotees from other parts of the country sheltering in Cebu City’s devotee city.
Thousands of faithful surrounding the centuries-old church, and tailing the images of the Holy Child during solemn processions are usually the sights associated with the Fiesta Señor.
But now, everyone, including Kenny Tinguha, venerates through their smartphones, laptops, smart TVs, and other electronic devices. Others simply light a candle at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Church which remains open for devotees.
“Online ko, daily gaattend sa Basilica Masses. But muadto sad ko sa church, mao na ang akong actual daily. Magdagkot sad ko sa Basilica pero dili everyday. Not like before niabot ang pandemic nga daily ko magdagkot sa Basilica,” said Kenny.
Fiesta Señor, Before
Aside from the Novena Masses, the week-long Fiesta Señor is celebrated through various physical activities. These included the Walk with Jesus, which marks the start of the feast, and the reenactment of the First Baptism.
As early as 3 a.m., devotees would congregate at Fuente Osmeña, the starting point of Walk with Jesus. The procession is part of the Opening Salvo for Fiesta Señor and culminates at the Basilica church.
Also during the Opening Salvo, Augustinian friars will announce the feast’s Hermano and Hermana. This segment is still retained in today’s virtual opening Mass.
Another highlight of the Fiesta Señor celebration is the reenactment of the country’s First Baptism, usually held during the eve of the feast. It is preceded by the fluvial procession where sea vessels all over Cebu paint Mactan Channel red and yellow, the colors of Snr. Sto. Niño.
In the afternoon, the faithful return to the Basilica church to participate in the Solemn Foot Procession which covers major roads in Cebu City. The procession culminates with the Solemn Visperas Mass.
The feast of Snr. Sto. Niño falls on the third Sunday of January which will begin with a pontifical Mass.
Now, these external events, are canceled for the meantime, as part of the church and the government’s precautionary measures against COVID-19.
Despite the challenges spawned by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, compounded by the devastation caused by Typhoon Odette, faith and veneration to the Snr. Sto. Niño still prevail.
For Kenny, who had been participating in these events before the pandemic, her faith in the Snr. Sto. Niño transcends regardless of whether the celebration is done virtually or physically. And so, she continues to pray and looks up to the Holy Child in times of uncertainties and misfortune.
“My veneration to the Snr. Sto. Niño is for this pandemic to end, so we can resume our normal lives. As well as peace for our country and the whole world,” said Kenny. / rcg
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