Nov. 30 thanksgiving to draw devotees rain or shineBy Joy Cherry S. Quito
Cebu Daily News
Bring an umbrella for the glaring heat or a downpour.
If it rains, the vast part of a 27-hectare field to be used for the Nov. 30 national thanksgivng celebration for St. Pedro Calungsod will turn into muddy ground that requires rubber boots or slippers.
Get ready to stand for at least three hours unless you are one of the 10,000 people who will be provided chairs in a limited section for guests in front of the altar.
“Bring bottled water and umbrellas,” said Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, overall chairman of the Cebu celebration, who supervised yesterday’s dry-run of activities.
Organizers of Cebu’s biggest religious hosting duty just five days away said they will be ready for an “all-weather” liturgical celebration attended by an estimated 700,000 to a million people in the South Road Properties.
Since Nov. 30 is a holiday, Bonifacio Day, attendance is expected to be high.
The SRP will be closed to vehicles beginning 5 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, until the celebration ends in the evening, said traffic police and the Cebu CIty Traffic Operations (Citom).
Only vehicles with authorized stickers will be allowed entry into designated areas.
Devotees were advised to wear comfortable flat shoes and bring essential medicines, although paramedics and first-aid stations are stationed around the templete.
“We are encouraging the people to pray for good weather. We hope there will be no downpour here,” said Fr. Raul Gallego, chairman of the Committee on Venue.
The forecast of Accuweather for Cebu is “a couple of thunderstorms” in the day and “showers” at night on Friday, Nov. 30.
Around a thousand people including lay ministers, nuns and volunteer marshals participated in yesterday’s dry-run at the SRP.
At least six men carried on their shoulders the ‘andas’ or wooden platform where the official image of St. Pedro Calungsod will brought in procession to the front of the open air templete.
During the actual procession on Nov. 30, 24 male members of the Calungsod choir, composed of former seminarians, will carry San Pedro’s image.
The slow procession down a concrete brick walkway will take about half an hour.
Around 100 lay ministers rehearsed fanning out across the field to administer communion wafers to the crowd.
ROTC cadets from the University of Cebu joined the procession. The cadets are tasked to hold umbrellas and serve as position guides for the lay ministers.
A total of 500 representatives from the World Apostolate of Fatima, a pilgrim group, will serve as collectors during the mass.
Fr. Glen Guanzon, chairman of the Commission on Liturgy, said the Mass will be celebrated in English with a hundred bishops and a thousand priests from different parts of the Philippines and abroad.
Eighteen altar servers selected from parishes of Cebu have a role in the Mass. The hymns will be sung by a 2,000 member choir selected from different parishes.
Traffic flow in the SRP, a vital link between Cebu City and Talisay will be strictly regulated on Nov. 30.
Pedestrians can walk in through the Mambaling access road to reach the templete.
There are three access points by car to the SRP.
From the south, cars issued passes to enter the SRP Coastal Road will enter through Talisay City.
Vehicles coming from Cebu City will pass through the SRP Tunnel.
Only VIP vehicles with the proper stickers can enter the Mambaling access road.
However, free bus rides will be available for devotees from the south, near the Talisay City Hall, and the north at the junction of Palma St. and Serging Osmeña Blvd. near the Cebu Technological University.
In a traffic advisory issued last week, Citom announced that one side of the SRP Coastal Road would be closed to traffic for the religious foot procession.
The other side of the road facing the sea will be opened for two-way traffic.
The SRP tunnel will be used for normal traffic.
Vehicles heading north will take the surface road while vehicles in the oppositte direction have to use the underpass.
Designated drop-off points for commuters will be along Palma St./V. Sotto St. and N. Bacalso Ave. near the Mambaling flyover.