Back to normal: 458th Fiesta Señor celebration underway in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Inside the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, gone are social distancing measures that puts at least a half-meter distance between attendees.
Bottles of rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers placed in strategic areas, and devotees wearing face masks are the only remainders of the strict COVID-19 protocols the church implemented two years ago.
The month-long celebration of the 458th Fiesta Señor seems to have returned to normal as hundreds of devotees flocked to the centuries-old church on Thursday, January 5, 2023.
The Augustinian friars opened the 458th Fiesta Señor on Thursday with the Walk with Jesus and Solemn Mass for the Opening Salvo.
This year’s theme is titled Sto. Niño: Our Source of Peace in the Walk of Faith.
The Walk with Jesus, a 2.1-kilometer foot procession that preceded the Holy Mass that marked the beginning of the Novena Masses, also made a successful comeback on Thursday after a two-year hiatus.
Despite the massive crowd, police here said the religious activity went peaceful and orderly.
At the Basilica, Augustinian friars welcomed faithfuls to the 458th Fiesta Señor.
The church’s rector, Fr. Rev. Fr. Nelson Zerda, said the sight of “sea of devotees” during the Walk with Jesus, and a jampacked Pilgrim Center made them happy.
In his homily, Zerda reminded Catholics to always let Jesus guide them in their life.
“When we journey with the Lord, iyaha tang bagohon,” said Zerda.
He added that the Lord will always be with them, even amidst the hardships and challenges.
“It’s the journey that brings us happiness, not the destination,” Zerda said.
Thursday’s Opening Salvo also introduced the new Hermano and Hermana for this year’s Fiesta Señor.
They are Engr. Venerando Olandria and Dr. Donna Lei Olandria, whom the church described as “long-time devotees” of the Holy Child.
And like the usual Fiesta Señor fashion, the Mass concluded with the traditional Sinulog dance, where the faithful danced to the feast’s iconic beat and choreography.
All physical activities of the Fiesta Señor will return this year.
LOOK: Walk With Jesus kicks off 458th Fiesta Señor
Basilica friars announce resumption of all physical, religious activities for Fiesta Señor 2023
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