Major activities for feast of Bicol patroness in Naga City canceled
NAGA CITY –– The Archdiocese of Caceres and government officials of Naga City in Camarines Sur has decided to cancel the major activities in celebration of Peñafrancia Festival in September to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among devotees and pilgrims, who flock to the city to join the largest Marian event in Asia.
Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona said in a press conference here Saturday morning that all civic and commercial activities such as the Voyadores festival, civic and military parades, trade fairs, exhibits, competitions, concerts, and all other mass gatherings during the month-long celebration for the feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia would be canceled.
The Peñafrancia Festival draws millions of tourists, pilgrims, and devotees every year to join different festivities such as the Traslacion and fluvial procession, which involves the transfer of the image of the Bicol patroness, locally referred to as “Ina” (mother), from its official home in Peñafrancia Basilica Minore to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral and vice versa.
“Mindful of the present state of a national public health emergency, we decided to cancel this year’s holding of Processions: Translacion, Fluvial and any procession whatsoever,” Tirona and Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion said in a joint statement.
Novena masses and other religious practices connected with the observance of the Peñafrancia feast will still be celebrated but will be home-based or parish-based.
“All devotees are strongly encouraged to stay and remain in their respective localities and no longer travel to Naga City,” the statement advised.
The statement also said “kissing and touching of Ina’s miraculous images enshrined at the Peñafrancia Basilica and other churches, including the imposition of her ‘Manto’ (mantle) for healing and consolation” would be suspended.
On September 10, 2010, Naga City was given national recognition as “Pilgrimage Capital” of the Bicol Region through Presidential Proclamation No. 33.
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