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All set for ‘Walk with Jesus’, Fiesta Señor novena Masses

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Chito O. Aragon January 07,2016 - 04:29 AM
PREPARING THE PELGRIM ALTAR/JAN. 6, 2016: Workers put up Red and yellow color drepings surrounding the Sto Niño Pelgrim center in preparation for the 1st novena mass after the "Walk with Jesus" in connection with the Sto Niño fiesta celebration.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Workers put up red and yellow swags around the Sto. Nino Pilgrim Center; where daily Novena Masses will be held the feast day on January 17. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Thousands of pilgrims will gather at the  Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City  starting today for daily  novena Masses leading up to the  Feast of the Child Jesus on January 17.

“Walk with Jesus,” a dawn procession from Fuente Osmeña to the centuries-old church at 4:30 a.m. today, will usher in the 451st Fiesta Señor celebration.

“Everything is set. Let’s be united in celebrating the feast of the Holy Child whose mercy and compassion can bring us joy and peace,” said  Fr. Jonas Mejares, basilica rector.

The basilica complex is open 24 hours a day starting today until January 17 to accommodate the throngs of devotees.

At least 400 policemen and auxiliary group members will secure the procession, said Senior Supt. Marciano Batiancela, acting chief of the Cebu City Police Office.

All devotees are asked to use transparent bags to facilitate inspections.

Businessman Mario King and his wife Haydee will be installed as Hermano and Hermana Mayores, the main sponsors of the fiesta.

“We feel very unworthy of this honor. But we can’t say no to a humble and hearty invitation to be of service to the Sto. Nino and the Church,” Mario said.

As in previous years, devotees will spill over to the streets surrounding the basilica and the nearby Plaza Sugbo in front of  Cebu City Hall during the novena Masses.

 

At least four large LED screens are  mounted inside and outside the church grounds for people to view the Mass.

Twelve wooden kiosks have also been installed in the church yard and in the adjoining streets.

Lay ministers will be stationed there to distribute sacred hosts during Holy Communion so devotees  they don’t have to crowd into the pilgrim center.

Red and yellow umbrellas are also available for devotees but these have to be returned after use.

Except on January 7 and 15, when there are dawn processions, 11 daily Masses are celebrated at the outdoor Pilgrim Center leading to the Feast Day of the Sto. Niño.

The schedules are 4 a.m. (except on January 8 and 16), 5:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.

The theme of this year’s Fiesta Señor is “Sto. Niño: Wellspring of Mercy and Compassion.

Fr. Mejares reminded politicians and poll candidates not to use the Fiesta  to advance their personal interests.

“If they want to be part of the religious activities, they are most welcome. But please come here as devotees, not as politicians. This is a very solemn celebration so please don’t use it for politicking,” he said.

During the solemn  procession of the Sto. Niño along the major thoroughfares of Cebu City on January 16, Mejares said Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district and former Rep. Eduardo

Gullas will be among the politicians who will be allowed near the carroza (Spanish for carriage which will bear the image of the Holy Child).

Mejares said they have been devotees of the child Jesus and have been joining the processions for several decades already, not just during election years.

“If they (politicians) are true devotees of the Holy Child, they won’t use the procession and other liturgical services as venue for campaigning,” Mejares said.

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