Archbishop reminds revelers: Sinulog must be spiritual, too-A A +A
Sunday, January 15, 2012
CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma called on fiesta participants “to celebrate the Sinulog as a spiritual activity,” as Cebu’s biggest fiesta peaks today.
“We should remember that we have the opportunity to give praise to God during the Sinulog,” the archbishop told Sun.Star Cebu. “As much as we can, (let us celebrate the occasion) free from any accidents and harm, and maintaining spirituality and thanksgiving, something that is proper to God.”
The 61-year-old prelate quietly celebrated his first year as archbishop of Cebu last Friday.
Both the religious and cultural peaks of the fiesta take place today.
Do’s & don’ts
Huge crowds are expected in the pontifical mass at 6 a.m. in the Basilica, as well as the Sinulog grand parade that starts at 9 a.m.
Executive director Ricky Ballesteros of the Sinulog Foundation (Inc.) reminded groups joining the parade to avoid acts or gestures that may be offensive to any groups or movements, to preserve the non-political, democratic and ecumenical objectives of the Sinulog.
Those aboard the floats are prohibited from throwing merchandise and must wear decent clothes, the SFI director said. Ballesteros also reminded all participants to prepare for a 10-hour parade, which includes wearing sturdy shoes.
Dancers of Tribu Himag-ulaw from Placer, Masbate said they will offer their performance as a thanksgiving to the Child Jesus.
Tribu Himag-ulaw is the defending champion in the parade’s free interpretation category and will try to win their third championship this year.
Like Tribu Himag-ulaw, the Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City is also aiming to repeat its championship in the Sinulog-based category.
Roberto Bitoy Gonzales, one of the choreographers and the costume designer of Tribu Sinanduloy, said their performance this year will showcase the history of the Sinulog, with some new moves they hope will set them apart from the competition.
“We watched the other contingents during their rehearsals and I can say that our performance is unique,” he added.
Out-of-town contingents join the Sinulog each year to compete for the grand prize (pegged at P1 million this year), promote their tourist attractions, and join the religious festivities in honor of the Sto. Niño.
In the midst of all the celebrations, the archbishop marked a milestone of his own. He celebrated a mass at his residence last Friday morning, followed by a luncheon with church workers and confreres.
The rest of the afternoon was spent receiving well-wishers, on his first anniversary as archbishop.
In the late afternoon, he led the blessing of the St. Joseph chapel located at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral sacristy, an event attended by one of the sponsors for the construction, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
The archbishop also had plans to attend the Cebu Pop Music Festival at the Cebu Coliseum last Friday night.
In a short homily, Palma noted that he was appointed bishop on Jan. 13, 1998 and was assigned as Cebu auxiliary bishop.
By Jan. 13, the following year, he was appointed as bishop of Calbayog diocese in Samar Province.
Finally, it was on the 13th of January that he was installed as archbishop of Cebu.
“So, you see, the number 13 is not an unlucky number. It’s a lucky number for me, after all,” said Palma.
Governor Garcia said Cebu is lucky to have him as archbishop.
“I remember his debut, when he officiated mass before the Sinulog, and when he very rightly pointed out we all need each other, that the city needs the province and the province needs the city,” she said.
“Our gift is the unity amongst Cebuanos, the unity between the city and province of Cebu.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2012.