St. Joseph joins Fluvial Parade for the first time
One of the highlights of the Fiesta Señor celebration is the Fluvial Parade which is held on Visperas Day, a day before the feast of the Holy Child.
For the past years, the Sto. Niño de Cebu image is accompanied by the image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of Cebu, on board the Galleon ship.
This year, for the first time in the tradition of the Fiesta Señor celebration, the image of St. Joseph will be joining the Mother and Child, completing the Holy Family.
The decision was made after the priests from the National Shrine and Parish of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, represented by Msgr. Antonio C. Medida verbally requested the Augustinian friars the inclusion of the image of St. Joseph on the Galleon for the sea-borne procession.
The humble request was expressed during the first Inter-Agency Coordination Meeting for the 459th Fiesta Señor on September 13, 2023 at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.
After a series of consultations among the Augustinian confreres and dialogue with the Team of Pastors from the National Shrine of St. Joseph, the decision to include St. Joseph was approved and communicated on October 15, 2023.
Most Rev. Midyphil B. Billones, D.D., Team Moderator and Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu, sent a letter of reply to the Prior of the Basilica community, Rev. Fr. Basilio Sugata-on, OSA, and the Augustinians, dated November 17, 2023, expressing his congratulations and thanks on the “openness in making minor adaptations of the tradition.”
The decision was most welcomed with joy and gratitude “not only for the National Shrine of St. Joseph but for the whole local Church of Cebu.”
For Bishop Billones, this development is a “beautiful step towards the growth for the devotion centered on Christ Jesus our Señor Santo Niño.” The inclusion of St. Joseph “in fact compliments and intensifies” the devotion to the Child Jesus.
He also expressed his hope that the pastoral and liturgical appropriations be continued in the future after this year.
The Holy Family will begin its journey when the image of St. Joseph meets the Mother and Child at the boundary between Cebu City and Mandaue City during the traslacion on January 19, 2024, Friday.
Upon arrival at the St. Joseph Parish, a welcome mass will be held at 9:00 in the morning to be followed by a series of masses from 12:15 pm to 7:30 pm while the send-off mass is scheduled at 11:00 in the evening.
The journey of the family continues to another traslacion heading to the National Shrine and Parish of Nuestra Señora de Regla in Opon, Lapu-Lapu City departing at midnight from Mandaue City. A eucharistic celebration will be held at 4:00 in the morning at the Regla Shrine before proceeding to NAVFORCEN to commence the fluvial procession at 6:00 a.m.
During the entire fluvial parade until the arrival at the Basilica, the image of St. Joseph will accompany the Mother and Child.
The Holy Family will be enshrined at the altar of the Santo Niño Pilgrim Center until Monday, January 22, 2024.
This year’s official Galleon is the MV Martin 8 of the Maayo Shipping Inc. Genesis Labana, OSA