The Fiesta Señor is one of the most awaited festivals of the Philippines and its annual celebration is a highlight of Cebu City. The fiesta, which gathers thousands of people even those from outside the country, does not only illustrate the cultural aspect but also the religious traditions of Filipino Catholics.
This year, the Fiesta Señor is on its 453rd celebration as it officially begins with an inspiration for the devotees to focus on significant aspects of our religion despite the distractions of the modern world.
Photo by: Rhea Carmel Maglahus – USC Volunteer
Worship. Around 80, 000 of devotees joined the Walk with Jesus at four o’clock in the morning of the first day of the Fiesta Señor 2018. The flower-filled and bright carroza of the image of Sñr. Santo Niño was preceded by the rector of the Basilica, Rev. Fr. Pacifico Nohara, OSA and the outgoing 2017 Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayores, Mr. Leo Manguilimotan and Mrs. Cristina Manguilimotan. Along with the carroza are the Augustinian priests, brothers, lay ministers, and BMSN volunteers. The Penitential foot procession, which started from the Fuente Osmeña Circle to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (BSMN), gathered patrons from different walks of life but of the same faith and devotion.
Liturgy. The image of Sñr. Santo Niño arrived at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño (BMSN) at five-twenty in the morning which was followed by the Opening Salvo Mass. The mass, presided by Rev. Fr. Pacifico Nohara, OSA, rector of the BMSN, reflected on the theme of this year’s fiesta celebration “Sto. Niño: Inspiration of Renewed Disciples for New Evangelization.”
Photo credit to Carlo Caracena – Pitik
Rev. Fr. Nohara encouraged the devotees to lovingly submit their selves to God as he said, “The miraculous image hears always our prayers, granting our heart’s desire, giving us hope, protecting us away from all misfortunes, preserving us all through the years, surviving all sorts of aridities, embracing us in times of suffering, and inspiring us to be better persons. Better disciples of God, perhaps, renewed disciples.”
For this to be possible, for us to be on the path toward discipleship, Fr. Nohara reminded us about what it takes to lead a Christian life.
“Let us choose the path of righteousness, let us choose to be servants of the Lord, and let us choose to participate in the mission of the Church as new evangelizers.”
Ritual. The installation of the mother-son Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayores 2018, Mrs. Rosalina Go and son Mark Go, took place in the Opening Salvo Mass. The previous year’s Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayores handed over the baston and medal as a declaration of the newly installed Hermano Mayor and Hermana Mayores. This traditional act symbolizes our evangelization and acceptance of the holy child Jesus, Sñr. Sto. Niño.
Sacramentals. Different images of Sñr. Santo Niño were brought by the devotees: small and huge, wearing red or green clothes, some even have lights and decorations on them. Moreover, the arrival of the image of Sr. Santo Niño in the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño was warmly received by the devotees with love as they sing His Gozos: Bato Balani sa Gugma with the traditional waving of hands. It is our acts that reflect the deep devotion we have for the holy child.
Popular Religiousity. This year’s Sinulog Festival, a trademark Cebuano celebration, is expected to advocate the declaration of the Church that 2018 be the “Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons”, as it reflects the devotion of the Catholics, particularly the Filipinos.
There were fortunately no reports of collapsing and injuries during the Penitential Walk with Jesus and Opening Salvo Mass. Nevertheless, the BMSN, along with the government and volunteers, is always quick on their feet if anything happens. The first day of the novena masses ended, but the celebration has just begun. As we wait for the main celebration of the week-long Fiesta Señor 2018, we may all be keen on our surroundings, patient and considerate with our fellow devotees, and never forget the true essence of the event: be inspired to renew ourselves and to embody true discipleship.
Viva Pit Senyor!
BMSN Media Center Student Volunteer | Eunice Jose – USC
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