A week with the Lord
Last Sunday we observed the Feast of the Epiphany, the Manifestation of the Lord, first to the shepherds watching their flocks in the fields, then to the Magi, the Three Wise Men of the East, the Magi earlier referred to as the Three Kings. A feast that traditionally ended the Christmas season, and the season of Christmas caroling, which, this year we did not have much of, particularly in Cebu City.
I remember in earlier years, Christmas caroling or “panaygon” in the city, as most surely in the towns, began with the onset of the Christmas season and ended on Jan. 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings, observed this year last Sunday, the 5th. That was also when the fund-raising Christmas caroling project of our Cebu United Radio and Radio and Television Artists, Inc or Curta wound up after our first Sunday of the month meeting.
Speaking of which, the meeting was spent largely on ironing out further details of our forthcoming major fund-raiser, “Pasiklap: Operiting Hilaw” scheduled for February at the Teatro Pilipino of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel in Lahug.
Yesterday, Jan. 9th was the Feast of the Black Nazarene whose image is venerated at the Quiapo Church in Manila. I remember first visiting the church when, as a first grade pupil, our family, then residing in San Fernando, Pampanga, brought my late younger sister to Manila to be treated for meningitis at the Philippine General Hospital. And my parents and I visited Quiapo, my mother moving on her knees from the doorway to the altar, to pray before the image of the Black Nazarene for my sister’s successive cure and recovery. Which was granted, to the attending physicians’ relief, since meningitis in those years did not yet have the modern medicines available today for its treatment and cure. We then returned to Quiapo in thanksgiving before we left for home. I therefore understand the fervor of devotees as reported yearly by the mass media.
Here in Cebu City, the Fiesta Señor 2014 officially started yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m with the annual “Walk with Jesus” religious foot procession from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Fr. Jonas Mejares said no 4 a.m. Mass preceded this. In a press conference, he said, “If 2013 (was) a year filled with trials, 2014 must be a year of hope. And we know that our hope is in the Sto. Niño. In Him alone we put our hope. In Him alone can we find strength after the challenges we encountered.”
Devotees can now attend 11 novena masses scheduled daily at the pilgrim center in front of the basilica with its bell tower still disfigured from the October earthquake last year. Next week, this Bystander-ing report will take up more on the current conservation plans for the historic 274-year old basilica. Meanwhile, the basilica is now open 24 hours daily to welcome pilgrims since yesterday until the Feast Day on Jan. 19th.
The religious activities in connection with the Fiesta Señor, including the celebratory Sinulog acivities, I remember we used to cover when I was still regularly working at Radio Station dyLA.
This year, Cebu print media has put out a detailed schedule of daily Sinulog 2014 activities that also include related civic and cultural activities, starting yesterday through Jan. 25th, as well as an exhibit of winning Sinulog 2014 Photos on Feb. 10th at SM City Cebu.
This year’s Sinulog theme is: “Sr. Sto. Niño, Hope of the People”. After last year’s trials and tribulations, we look to this New Year as a year of hope.
Meanwhile, with the gathering of people at the basilica, the city problem now is the traffic. Mass media, print and broadcast (radio and TV) have put out traffic route schedules to cope with the problem, including that around the downtown basilica, considering the discovered effects of heavy traffic on the historic and religious edifice that sustained partial destruction after last year’s earthquake and supertyphoon.
Our concern with weather conditions is not only in our part of the world, as media reports that in the United States in particular, arctic air is freezing a wide swath of the country, especially affecting the northeastern states and, accoding to latest reports, even the mid-western states. Talk of remembering Al Gore’s book on “The Inconvenient Truth” of global warming’s effect on weather around the world: in heat and cold, in storms of wind (including Siberian) and water!
And now back to activities this Bystander is currently involved in. Today, our Zonta Area 3 meeting starts with a mini-market held the whole day. Fellowship night will be held at 6:30 p.m. Opening ceremonies will be held tomorrow. A memorial service will be held for departed Zontians starting at 5:45 p.m., followed by anticipated Mass at 7 p.m. These will be followed by a farewell dinner, raffles and Club presentations. Hail and farewell, fellow Area 3 Zontians!
Tomorrow, also, at 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., we of the Cebu Women’s Network will be holding our monthly “Women’s Kapihan” program aired over Radio Station dyLA from its studios at the Mariner’s Court Building at Cebu’s Pier 1. Do listen in.
More reports next week on this busy week, as well as our Fiesta Señor celebration and activities. Until then, as always, may God continue to bless us, one and all!
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