Regardless of this week’s weather, timing and sequencing are everything as far as the fluvial and foot processions for the arrival of the Saint Pedro Calungsod image in Cebu City on Friday is concerned.
This point was emphasized by both the Coast Guard and organizers after yesterday’s dry run for the twin events scheduled for the Nov. 30 Thanksgiving Mass at the South Road Properties (SRP).
An “all weather liturgical celebration” is anticipated by organizers of the Thanksgiving Mass at the SRP.
Since Nov. 30 is a holiday, Bonifacio Day, the Cebu Archdiocese projects attendance at 700,000 or close to a million.
Barring last minute changes, about 200 vessels are expected to join the fluvial procession that starts at the Ouano wharf at 2 p.m.
Yesterday’s dry run ended with the San Pedro Calungsod image arriving earlier than scheduled at the SRP.
“The arrival of the image at the SRP must sync with the foot procession. Adjustments will be made before the Thanksgiving Mass on Nov. 30,” said Msgr. Marnell Mejia, chairman of the fluvial procession committee.
Thousands of devotees are expected to join the foot procession that will see the Saint Pedro Calungsod image arriving at the Cebu City port area from the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City and being transported to the Calungsod shrine in D. Jakosalem St.
The Calungsod image, which toured the country as part of its Duaw Nasud, will arrive in Mandaue City on Wednesday this week from Talibon town, Bohol for the fluvial and foot processions.
Yesterday’s dry run for the fluvial procession was held at the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City where the galleon San Diego was docked. The vessel passed by the Cebu International Port (CIP) stretch.
During the actual fluvial procession, the image will be accompanied on board the galleon by representatives from the Cebu Archdiocese, Archdiocese of Agana, Guam, Jesuits, and some catechists and some youths.
The “proa”, a Malay word for a small paddle boat met the galleon a few meters away from the docking platform at the SRP.
The platform is located in front of the pathway going to the templete.
Fr. Charles Jayme, official custodian of the pilgrim image of Saint Pedro Calungsod, went down from the galleon to ride the small boat that headed towards the docking platform.
On spotting the vessel, catechists will blow the “budyong” or large sea shells towards the seawall to signal the arrival of the Saint Pedro Calungsod image at the SRP.
Mejia said the image should be at the templete at 4:30 p.m.
A press briefing was conducted later in the afternoon by organizers and the Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) at the latter’s headquarters in barangay Looc, Lapu-Lapu City.
Coast Guard commander Capt. Rolando Punzalan said participating vessels should secure special permits from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) or else they won’t be allowed to join the fluvial procession.
He said their office is waiting for the official list of registered vessels for Thursday’s fluvial parade.
Navforcen chief Commodore Leopoldo Alano told reporters that marshals of the Coast Guard and Navforcen will secure the galleon using two Navy multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC).
A Naval Special Operations Unit (Navsou) 5 team will also be on hand for the event, he said.
Those who still insist on joining the fluvial procession even without permits will be issued maritime violations, Punzalan said.
They may even face suspension from the Marina.
Devotees on board open vessels should wear life jackets for safety, Punzalan said.
Vessels that would follow the fluvial procession would be barred from joining the main fleet, he said.
Punzalan said they are only waiting for word from the state weather bureau Pagasa to decide whether or not a fluvial parade will push through.
He said if Pagasa declares a storm signal, the procession won’t proceed.
Punzalan said they would have to receive official notice from Pag-asa’s Mactan bureau but added that evaluation of local weather conditions would also be done prior to deciding whether to proceed or drop the event altogether.
On Thursday, a motorcade will start from the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral to the SRP chapel at 2 p.m.
This is followed by the consecration of the SRP chapel with overseas workers pilgrims an hour later. /Carmel Loise Matus, Correspondent