Fiesta Señor Visperas: Pre-COVID era

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram January 15,2022 - 11:56 AM

Devotees will be allowed to watch the fluvial procession from Cebu City port area./CDN file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — This year, devotees of the Señor Sto. Niño would be celebrating the Visperas of the Feast Day solemnly as Cebu recovers from the twin crisis brought about by the COVID-19 and Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).

But faith in the Holy Child transcends calamities and pandemics, as shown by faithful venerating through their gadgets or lighting candles at the Pilgrim Center of the centuries-old Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu. 

In this special feature for CDN Digital, we take a look back at the highlights of the Last Day of Novena and Visperas, back when there were still no restrictions. 

1. Walk with Mary 

Fiesta Señor

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is joined by thousands of Marian and Sto. Niño devotees during “The Walk with Mary” procession from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. |CDN Digital file photo

The last day of the Novena Masses will usually start with another dawn procession. This time, devotees will be tailing behind the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Called ‘Walk with Mary’, it is one of the highly anticipated events of the Fiesta Señor celebration. 

The statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe is removed from its shrine, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.

Assembly for the Walk with Mary will be held at Fuente Osmeña and the actual walk to the Basilica usually begins at 4 a.m. It will end with a 5:30 a.m. Mass. 

2. Traslacion 

The images of Sto. Nino and Our Lady of Guadalupe arrive at the St. Joseph Shrine in Mandaue City. (CDN FILE PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be housed within the Basilica for a while before it will join Señor Sto. Niño for the Traslacion. The two will be brought to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City and be reunited with St. Joseph, forming the Holy Family. 

3. Fluvial Procession 

STO NIÑO FLUVIAL PROCESSION 2017/JAN.14,2017:The Galleon carrying the image of Señor Sto. Niño leads the fluvial procession in this 2017 photo.(CDN FILE PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

After spending a night at the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, the images of the Holy Child and Our Lady of Guadalupe will be returned to Cebu City. And this time, the procession will be water-borne.

The fluvial procession on Visperas is one of the most colorful highlights of the Fiesta Señor, with large and small sea vessels, adorned with the red and yellow colors of the feast, participating in the parade on Mactan Channel, from Lapu-Lapu City to the South Road Properties (SRP). 

4. Reenactment of the First Baptism

FIESTA SENIOR REENACTMENT/JAN 18, 2014: Fr. Jonas Mejares baptizes the couple who acted as Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana during reenactment of the first baptism and Eucharistic Mass at the pilgrim center of the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño after the fluvial procession.(CDN FILE PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

The images of Señor Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe usually get off from the sea vessels carrying them at Pier 1 before being escorted back to the Basilica. Once they arrive at the church, the reenactment of the First Baptism starts. 

500 years ago, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan gifted Hara Jumamai, the wife of Rajah Humabon, with the image of the Holy Child. The Rajah and Hara were baptized into Christianity, taking the names of Carlos and Juana respectively. 

After the Battle of Mactan, where Magellan was killed and prompted his remaining crew to return to Spain, the Señor Sto. Niño was rediscovered in a burning hut. 

A soldier belonging to the conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi found the statue, which they believed was the one Magellan gave to Queen Juana. 

The image of Señor Sto. Niño is the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. 

5. Solemn Foot Procession & Visperas Mass

A multitude of venerating devotees to the Señor Sto. Niño raise their hands in prayers, many holding small images of the Child Jesus during the Solemn Foot Procession on January 18, 2020. | CDN Digital File Photo Gerard Vincent Francisco

On the afternoon of the Visperas, devotees would gather once again at the Basilica to participate in the Solemn Foot Procession. Thousands would flock to the routes of the Solemn Foot Procession, which cover major roads in Cebu City. The event will culminate at the Basilica to be followed by the Solemn Visperas Mass. 

Fiesta Señor 2022

This year, Augustinian Friars, local governments, and members of the private sector have organized a motorcade of the Señor Sto. Niño will cover the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, and Talisay.

The Holy Child will also pass through the newly constructed Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX). The motorcade will start after the Solemn Visperas Mass.

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TAGS: 457th Fiesta Señor, Cebu‬, Fiesta Señor, motorcade, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Snr. Sto. Niño

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