As the world faces the hardest battle against Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – a global pandemic which killed more than hundreds and affected thousands of people worldwide, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu (BMSN) uplifted the spirit of faith and service to the people.
BMSN conducted various activities that aid people’s spiritual lives and physical welfare. From initiating the mobile processions, feeding activities for the less fortunate individuals, personal protective equipment (PPEs) production and other activities.
From these initiatives, BMSN aims to lighten the worries of every people suffering the threat of the invisible enemy with the help of different benefactors and generous people who work as one in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
MOBILE PROCESSIONS and ONLINE EVANGELIZATION
Initiated by the BMSN Augustinian Friars, mobile processions are manifestations, that no pandemic can hinder the church to spread spirituality where faith and hope should linger in the lives of the faithful. The week-long mobile procession of the Sto. Niño was conducted last March 29 in the streets of Metro Cebu.
Several spiritual activities are successfully conducted through online. From live streaming of masses, offering prayers of the Holy Rosary, conducting special social media coverage during Easter Sunday Mass and Urbi et Orbi Blessing of Pope Francis, online veneration of the Santo Niño image, in lieu of the mobile procession (due to ECQ) and other regular church activities.
People around the world especially the Santo Niño devotees are flooding online to express their faith and offer their petitions in order to cease the spread of Coronavirus.
The response of the people watching online masses creates a positive feedback to the church, giving the church the leeway to spread God’s good news rather than negativities.
According to Sr. Ma. Alejandra O. Amancio, DST, one should respect the readings, psalms, gospels and the homily for blessed are those who believe even one cannot see.
“In my part as religious, gi feel nako that Jesus is truly present. His presence, I really felt even if I am not inside the church.” Sr. Amancio stated.
(In my part as religious, I feel that Jesus is truly present. His presence, I really felt even if I am not inside the church.)
CARE FOR THE HOMELESS
Earlier this month, when the Cebu Provincial Government declared that Cebu Province is under the state of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to ensure the safety of all the people in Cebu to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, people are strictly encouraged to stay at home.
ARS aims to provide foods to the homeless even before the ECQ through the “Kan-anan ni Niño”- a project initiated by SNAF and supported by the Basilica community and other benefactors.
This is made possible through SNAF, BMSN giving its counterpart, and mobilizing the concept of the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) Cares- an Augustinian volunteer program.
“My vision ani is that everybody will understand nga when we do or help sa Augustinian Relief Services nisud ta sa volunteer program sa Augustinian, naa pud ta tawag niya OSA Cares, mao ni karon ang murag backbone , sila ang manpower, so without these volunteers ug mga generous donors di gyud ni sya ingon ini ka active ang Augustinian Relief Services.”
(My vision is that everybody will understand that when we do or help in the Augustinian Relief Services(ARS), we are helping as Augustinians. We also have a volunteer program dubbed as OSA Cares. They are the backbone, the manpower so without these volunteers and the generous donors, ARS would not be as active as it is.)
To provide temporary shelter for the homeless in times of ECQ, the Basilica and the officials of Barangay San Roque collaborates for a common purpose.
“We are trying to collaborate a lot more with the barangay para ma ensure ang hygiene ug water consume kay importante man kaayo,”. Rev. Fr. Alladin P. Luzon, Executive Director of SNAF said.
(We are trying to collaborate a lot more with the barangay to ensure the hygiene and water consumption [of the people] for it is very important.)
Barangay San Roque Sports Complex accommodated a total number of 118 street dwellers. Other 14 dwellers chose to stay at the Colegio del Santo Niño (CSN) activity center inside the Basilica compound.
Most of these dwellers are staying permanently near the Basilica compound and have been the beneficiaries of the weekly feeding program, Kan-anan ni Niño; they are currently receiving daily food consumption courtesy of ARS.
Part of the activities of the Basilica most especially SNAF’s ARS is to respond to the coordination of different institutions in channeling the call of serving the people in times of pestilence.
Over 10,000 face shields are produced and distributed to different hospitals initially in Cebu and Bohol while more than 500 personal protective equipment (PPEs) were also distributed.
An on-going PPE production takes place inside the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center with the volunteers from Metro Cebu Rotary Club District 3860 and volunteers from the Basilica’s medical team.
All of the activities are made possible through a collective effort of the Order of Saint Augustine- Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu- Philippines, Sto. Niñode Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation Inc. (SNAF), Metro Cebu Rotary Club District 3860, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation(RAFI), Cebu City Government, BMSN Media Centre, OSA CARES, BMSN Medical Team and other benefactors who wholeheartedly and unceasingly support the Augustinian community.
In this trying time, it is about believing in our faith and prayers as well as truthfulness in service that matters. /Analyn Conocono, BMSN Media Centre volunteer