#CDNFiestaSeñor2022: How a devotee celebrates Fiesta Señor amid the pandemic
CEBU, Philippines—For Rosanna Pangan, being a devotee of the Señor Santo Niño, gives her confidence that no matter what life throws at her, she has someone whom she can call on for help or “masampit” in Cebuano.
This 58-year-old woman from C. Padilla in Cebu City is a devout Catholic and a devotee of the Child Jesus.
Pangan told CDN Digital in an interview she had hoped for a better celebration of this year’s Fiesta Señor.
But with the rise of COVID-19 cases in the city, the Archdiocese of Cebu and the city government decided to hold off the main activities of the fiesta, including the Novena Masses.
“Wala gyod nako ma-feel ang Sinulog karon. Mga 80 percent nawagtang. 20 percent lang ang naa kay ang church na lang ang nagpabilin, ang mga tawo halos di na pasudlon,” said Pangan.
(I did not feel the Sinulog now. 80 percent of the Sinulog [atmosphere] is gone. 20 percent is left because the church is what is left, and it seems that they hardly allow the people to enter the church.)
“Nagexpect gyod unta ko nga makaattend ta personally kay ni okay2 na unta to ang cases, based sa previous months, ni go down na man unta. So nag-expect ko ma normalize unta ron January, but ironic man kabaligtaran ang mga nahitabo,” she said.
(I was expecting that I can attend the Mass personally because the number of cases were okay, based on the previous months, it already went down. So I expected that the situation will normalize this January, but ironically it was the opposite that happened.)
“Plus, the niagi nga katalagman nga si Odette, grabe, wagtang tanan nga communication,” Pangan added.
(Plus, Odette passed and the calamity it brought was devastating, all communication was gone.)
Pangan shared that attending the virtual Novena Mass felt very different from attending the actual Masses.
“Lahi ang virtual kaysa sa personal gyod ta mosimba kay ma-feel gyod nako ang ka solemn sa Mass unlike sa virtual lang,” she said.
(The virtual Mass is different than when one personally goes to church to attend Mass, where I can feel the solemness of the Mass unlike in the virtual Mass.)
“Miss na miss gyod nako ang pag adto sa simbahan. Kay kadtong normal pa ang situation diri, 3 times a week ko adto ko sa church. Sunday, Wednesday ug Friday. Pag pandemic, cut off tanan,” she added.
(I miss going to church to attend Mass. Because during normal times here, I attend Mass three times a week. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. When the pandemic came, all was cut off.)
With the rise of COVID-19 cases and with the lack of electricity and water services in the city, Pangan decided to go home to the province, in Medellin, in the northern part of Cebu.
She said that she would pray the nine-day novena of the Señor Santo Niño at home and would have a simple family celebration on Sunday, January 16, the feast day of the Santo Niño.
“Karon naa ko sa north part of Cebu kay wa man kaayo ma affected ang north part sa Cebu and there is one particular place sa Antipolo where I can attend mass nga face-to-face and in our small village here, maka dawn rosary pa mi bisan og gamay rami sa among community.
(Now, I am in the northern part of Cebu because this area has not been affected [by Odette] and there is one particular place in Antipolo where I can attend Mass that is face-to-face and in our small village here, we can hold a dawn rosary even if it is just a small community.)
“Ako na lang gihimo, nagnovena na lang ko diri sa probinsya, agig pasidungog sa Niño sa umaabot niya nga kapistahan. Bisan og Ania Ako sa layo nga lugar,” she said.
(What I did is that I just did the novena here in the province as a way to honor the Sto. Niño and mark the coming of his feast day.)
Since pandemic man, house ra gyod ang celebration. House prayer with the family unya magpatugtog sa mga kanta sa Sinulog. Maminaw nalang sa virtual nga Mass,” she told CDN Digital.
(Since the pandemic, our celebration was held in the house. House prayer with the family and we will just play music of the Sinulog and listen to the virtual Mass.)
Sampit kang Señor Santo Niño
Pangan worked as a sales and marketing supervisor of a company in Cebu City and was “forced” to file for an early retirement when the pandemic hit the country.
Losing her work during the pandemic may be the worst thing that happened to her, but Pangan said she was still grateful to the Child Jesus for giving her blessings in other forms.
When asked what is her “sampit” to the Señor Santo Niño, Pangan said she was offering her prayers for the end of this COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ang gipray gyod nako sa Señor nga mawagtang na gyod ang virus ug nga mahibalik na gyod sa normal ang sitwasyon.
(I am praying for the Señor to let the virus disappear and let the normal situation return.)
Ampo pud nako akong pamilya nga unta kung manormalize na, hatagan mi og blessings sa Ginoo nga unta makakaplag og grasya nga ikasuportar sa pang adlaw-adlaw namo nga panginahanglanon,” she said.
(I am also praying for my family that when this normalizes, the Lord will give us blessings that can support us from our daily needs.)
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