15,000 ‘crew’ to help in Calungsod thanksgiving mass

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Monday, November 26, 2012

CEBU CITY -- Some 15,000 lay ministers and nuns will help Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the cardinals, bishops and other priests in the thanksgiving mass on November 30, the biggest religious gathering in Cebu since the annual Pista Senyor.

Just like in the annual fiesta in honor of the Sto. Niño, a fluvial procession will be held to bring the image of San Pedro Calungsod to the South Road Properties (SRP) for the national mass on Friday.

The Navy and Coast Guard will provide security for the San Diego Galleon, which will carry the image of the second Filipino saint.


Two foot processions coming from the northern and southern parts of Cebu Province, as well as the fluvial procession in the Mactan Channel, will precede the mass.

All three delegations will converge at the mass site.

The galleon, which is owned by the Ouano family, is a mock-up of the boat that Calungsod must have boarded in the 17th century to Guam.

The teenager had worked as a catechist and sacristan to Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, before they were both killed on April 2, 1672.

Calungsod was beatified in March 2000 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI with six other blessed persons last October 21 in Rome, Italy.

San Pedro Calungsod fluvial parade rehearsal
THANKSGIVING. During a rehearsal, Fr. Charles Jayme of the Cebu Archdiocese carries a mock image of Saint Pedro Calungsod from Galleon San Diego to a boat that will carry the image to the SRP, where the Thanksgiving Mass for Calungsod’s canonization will be held. (Sun.Star Phto/Amper Campana)

2 hours

During a dry run on Sunday, two Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPAC) from the Naval Base in Lapu-Lapu City proceeded to the Ouano Wharf to escort the galleon to the mass site at the SRP.

The exercise, a simulation of the transfer of the statue from the Ouano Wharf to the mass site at the SRP, was delayed.

It took almost two hours to move the image from the wharf in Mandaue City, to the galleon, and then to a waiting motorized boat that finally docked at the SRP service ramp. The official custodian, Fr. Charles Jayme, escorted the image all throughout.

PCG Station Cebu Commander Rolando Punzalan said the weather was not a factor. It was warm and windy and the sea was still.

What only needs to be done is to keep the boat steady enough for Fr. Jayme to embark and for the motor boat to be stationed as near the galleon as possible, said Punzalan.

Naval Forces Central Commander Commodore Leopoldo M. Alano said the preparations and the dry run will ensure the safety of participants in the event.

Extra prepared

Alano said they considered several scenarios, such as falling overboard, fire, an ambush at sea and even a hostage-taking at the SRP -- although there are no signs the latter two could happen.

Ship owners whose vessels are joining the fluvial procession must follow the conditions set by the Archdiocese of Cebu in the accreditation of vessels, said Punzalan.

Ship owners should register with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and comply with Coast Guard requirements.

Punzalan said passengers of participating vessels, particularly those with open or viewing decks, should wear life jackets.

Marshal crafts will be deployed.

Ships that failed to register with Marina will not be allowed to join the main fleet, but they can stay at the tail end of the procession.

Punzalan, who has been tasked to handle security during the last two Sinulog fluvial processions, said the Calungsod fluvial event will be more controlled, as it will follow a straight path unlike that of the Sinulog, which travels to the Virgin of the Rule parish, Talisay City then back to the Cebu City Pier 1.

A dry run for the mass was also held last Saturday afternoon, where about 2,000 lay ministers and religious nuns and brothers were given instructions on designated areas for the distribution of communion hosts.

Half a million

Mass organizers prepared at least 500,000 pieces of communion wafers.
Collectors of mass offerings, about 500 members of World Apostolate of Fatima, were also present.

The dry run for volunteer workers lining up at the center of the road networks and dispersing to designated areas at SRP was also conducted. Meanwhile, while trucks hauled and poured filling materials along the perimeter of the 27-hectare mass site.

Demetrio Capitar, a lay minister, waited for his turn for registration and instructions.

“It is part of our ministry, our commitment (to serve the Church),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Students from various schools also volunteered to carry umbrellas for the ministers.

Cardinal Vidal will be joined by Cebu Archbishop and Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Jose Palma, Congregation for the Causes of Saints Prefect Angelo Cardinal Amato, Manila Archbishop Antonio Cardinal Tagle and more than 40 CBCP members.


Palma and Vidal will arrive early this week from Rome, Italy after attending the consistory convened by Pope Benedict XVI to induct Tagle and six European prelates to the College of Cardinals.

Father Jayme left for Tagbilaran City on Sunday. He will accompany the pilgrim image from there to Talibon town before the delegation arrives at Pier 1 in Cebu City by noontime tomorrow on Tuesday.

A hundred policemen from Cebu Province will assist Talisay City police during the mass. The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) approved the request of Talisay City Police chief Superintendent Eddie Recarama for additional police personnel to assist them in next week’s festivities.

Recamara, who is assigned as security head within the southern side of the SRP during the mass, said 30,000 to 50,000 devotees from southern Cebu alone are expected to converge at the mass site through a foot procession.

Days before the mass, Recamara and police personnel will conduct separate saturation drives in Talisay’s critical areas to steer away criminal elements during the event. Barangay tanods and members of the Barangay Peace Action Team will help Recamara’s team.

The public is advised not to bring jewelry and large amounts of money with them. Devotees are advised not bring along children and the elderly, especially the sickly, during the event. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 26, 2012.

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