MARYJOY skipped school to join the multitude of devotees who welcomed the images of the Sto. Niño and the Lady of Guadalupe as it made its way through the boundary of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue yesterday.
Waving her hand as the glass-encased icons passed, the young girl was among thousands who lined M.J. Cuenco Street close to noon yesterday.
“Ni-absent lang ko karon kay napanaad na nako ni. Akong pray nga din a pirmi mag-away akong mama ug papa,” the 13-year-old told Cebu Daily News. (I was absent from school today because this has been my personal devotion. I pray that my parents will stop their frequent fights.)
Along the route, a two-year-old girl was clutching a small image of the Holy Child as her elder brother stood beside her.
Their mother, Lorfel Dollen of barangay Subangdaku, said she’s been a devotee of the Sto. Niño since she gave birth to her first child four years ago. She said she constantly prays for her children to continue to enjoy good health and for her husband to end his vices and finally find a job.
Students from the Subangdaku Elementary School were up at 5 a.m to go to school to practice dance steps they later performed as the holy images which took off from the Basilica del Sto. Niño were en route to the St. Joseph’s Shrine in Mandaue City..
The image of the Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of Cebu, was the same icon used during the “Walk With Mary” dawn procession from the Fuente Osmeña rotunda to the basilica that preceded yesterday’s Traslacion, a Spanish word for travelling.
After an overnight stay in the Mandaue Shrine, the images will be brought today in a fluvial procession down the the Mactan Channel.
The Sto. Niño and the Virgin of Guadalupe images will board a galleon that will leave the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City at 6 a.m. It will then go on a foot procession to the basilica upon its arrival at the Cebu City pier.
A reenactment of the planting of the cross by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the celebration of the first Mass and baptismal in Cebu will follow after the procession.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will join the fluvial procession, Fr. Mhar Balili, the prelate’s secretary, said.
Palma will carry the image of the Child Jesus from its altar to the carroza for the solemn foot procession that will start at 1:30 p.m.
Senior Supt. Mariano Natu-el, acting chief of police of Cebu City, said they are 100 percent ready to secure today’s religious festivities.
All leaves were cancelled as the Cebu City police went on full alert beginning yesterday.
Natu-el said 1,700 policemen will be deployed with the city’s police force getting reinforcements from the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu as well as the Regional Public Safety Battalion.
The AFP Central Command as well as civilian volunteers will also be on hand to help maintain order.
Unity of family
“Deepen your faith.”
This was the message of Fr. Roman Cañon, who delivered the homily in the Misa de Traslacion at the Basilica del Sto. Niño’s pilgrim center yesterday morning.
Cañon said the Traslacion reminds the people about the unity of the Holy Family which is composed of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.
He urged the faithful to live their faith and understand the real essence of living.
“Jesus is preparing eternal life for us. But remember that when we strive hard to arrive in heaven, there are those who want to pull us down,” he said.
Cañon officiated the Mass which was used to be done by Msgr. Cristobal Garcia who underwent knee surgery in Manila last Dec. 12.
Garcia is the custodian of the Sto. Niño image which has been used during the Traslacion and the fluvial processions for about two decades. But for this year, the Augustinian fathers decided to use the image of the Sto. Niño from the church’s museum.
The three kilometer stretch from the border village of Subangdaku in Mandaue City to the St. Joseph national shrine was festooned with yellow and red balloons, flowers and flaglets.
A hovering helicopter rained confetti on the parade as it crossed the city limits separating Cebu and Mandaue cities where a 20-meter red carpet was rolled out to welcome the holy images on its arrival at 9 a.m.
Mandaue City officials led by Mayor Jonas Cortes welcomed the holy images which were escorted by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. A long line of cars, bikers, motorcyle riders and media vehicles joined the motorcade.
Acting Cebu Gov. Agnes Magpale together with Mandaue City officials and Rep. Luigi Quisumbing were on hand to welcome the images when it arrived at the St Joseph’s shrine.
Thirty-three groups of street dancers scattered throught Lopez Jaena Street in barangay Subangdaku were on hand to welcome the images of the Sto. Niño and the Lady of Guadalupe.
Dressed in colorful costumes, the dancers – ranging from pre-school age children to senior citizens – gracefully performed their routines to add color to the religious festivity.
Grade 5 pupil Rutchel Anne Abadiez of sitio Mahayag said she volunteered to dance .
“Bahala og kapoy sugod pa sa among practice kay amo man ning halad para sa Sto. Niño (No matter how tiring even from the start of our practice because this is our offering for the Sto. Niño),” the 11-year-old said.
Councilor Ernie Manatad, president of the city’s Association of Barangay Captain who is village chief of Subangdaku, said they organized the street dancers to create a festive mood in the Traslacion.
“The volunteers spent for their costumes while some have sponsors,” he said.
Delia Castillon, 54, of sitio Mahiga said she’s not uneasy about dancing at her age. .
“Dili ko mauwaw kay ako ning ipahinungod sa Sto. Niño, pasalamat sa mga grasya nga nadawat ug maayong panglawas,” (I won’t be ashamed because this is my devotion to the Sto. Niño, thanking him of the blessings recieved and good health) she said.
Hediliza Grafe witnessed the motorcade while sitting on her wheelchair.
“I really believe that if I will be able to see the Sto. Nino image and wave my hands in greeting, my prayers will be heard,” the 72-year-old from barangay Guizo said.