‘Reunion’ attracts thousands-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
ANSIXTA Briones waited for hours at the gate of the National Shrine of St. Joseph to witness the meeting of the images of the Holy Family yesterday morning.
The 67-year-old candle vendor has never missed the Traslacion, or the meeting of Sto. Niño, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Joseph images, since she moved to Mandaue City several years ago.
Past 10 a.m., bells pealed to signal the arrival of the images of the Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The jingle of Panagtagbo Festival blared from speakers.
Still holding her candles, Briones waved her hands as two red and maroon vehicles carrying the images entered the gate. She joined the crowd of devotees scrambling to get some flowers adorning the glass-encased images.
“Pasalamat kog dako sa Sto. Niño nga gitagaan kog grasya sa kinabuhi. Ug unta tagaan ko Niya ug kabaskog og kapiskay sa kalawasan (I’m grateful to the Niño for the blessings I have received. I hope He would give me good health),” said Briones, who hails from Tabogon, Cebu.
Confetti fell as the images were carried into the packed shrine to meet the image of St. Joseph.
About 80,000 people turned up along the route of the motorcade in Mandaue, said Supt. Petronelli Baldebrin, chief of the Mandaue City Police Office.
Mayor Jonas Cortes met the motorcade at the boundary of Mandaue and Cebu City in Barangay Subangdaku.
Businesses and houses had set up altars for the Holy Family along the route. Devotees, carrying images of Sto. Niño, cheered “Viva! Pit Senyor!”
Some devotees released balloons marked “Viva! Pit Senyor!” despite an earlier request of Traslacion organizers for devotees not to bring balloons to make the event more eco-friendly.
Each carrying a sack of trash, cousins Pia Umayas, 10, and Joseph Zorita, 15, were among those who eagerly waited for the motorcade.
The school dropouts, who walked from Barangay Cambaro, picking up plastic bottles along the way, stopped near a gasoline station in Barangay Centro and joined the crowd.
“Gusto mi makakita sa Sto. Niño (We like to see the Sto. Niño),” said Umayas.
In his homily during the welcome mass, Msgr. Adelito Abella noted conflicts among leaders, the presence of crimes and the continuing culture of graft and corruption as signs “we have not yet matured in our Christian faith.”
“It’s not a challenge of faith, but a challenge of the maturity of our faith,” he said, stressing the meaning of Pista Senyor to Cebuanos.
Cebu Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale, Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu, sixth district), Mayor Cortes and other city officials were present at the mass.
“From my end, I don’t consider it conflict. I’m just doing my duty and my job,” Magpale said after the mass, referring to the turmoil at Capitol, when sought for reaction to Msgr. Abella’s homily.
She said she will heed the request of the Sinulog organizers to keep politics away during the celebration, and urged her fellow politicians to do the same.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2013.