Basilica eyes sched changes

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Monday, December 16, 2013

THE Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño plans to implement several changes during the Fiesta Señor celebration on January.

Basilica Rector Fr. Jonas Mijares said the church will open for 24 hours during the nine-day novena mass for the biggest religious celebration in Cebu City.

Extending the opening hours of the church is necessary as they are expecting huge influx of devotees.

This, as a portion of the church was still off limits to the public after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last Oct. 15 damaged the facade and belfry of the Basilica
This year, the Basilica was opened for 24 hours for four days towards the feast day.

Fr. Mijares said they will also add one more mass in the nine-day novena.

He said the additional mass will defuse the number of people hearing the mass.

From a 10-masses-per-day schedule this year, the Basilica will add a 4 a.m. as its earliest mass.

All the mass will still be held in the pilgrim center of the Basilica.

Until now, no mass has been held inside the century-old church.

Fr. Mijares said they are expecting a bigger number of devotees from other towns and provinces who will visit and celebrate the Fiesta Señor as their thanks giving.

This year, police estimated the crowd in Basilica to reach 2.7 million.

Fr. Mijares said it might be doubled next year after all the calamities that hit the country.

“They have stronger faith,” said Fr. Mijares in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

They will also put up more additional flat screen monitors along the fence in Osmeña Blvd.

With the present situation in Basilica, Fr. Mijares said they need more security personnel to guard the off-limits portion of the church.

He said they need to secure the facade and belfry area for the safety of the public visiting the church.

Right now, the restoration phase of the damaged portion has yet to start after preservation and restoration experts are still studying its foundation.

Fr. Mijares said different committees for the Fiesta Señor will start to activate and plan out the celebration as the year ends.

He said one of the factors they are focusing on is the entrance and exit points of the church.

“It’s a perennial problem that we seriously want to look into, considering the present situation of the church,” said Fr. Mijares.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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