Commercialization of novena masses-A A +A
Friday, January 10, 2014
CLOSE to one million Catholic faithful joined the “Walk With Jesus” early yesterday morning, reported Radio 5’s Rey Pasaporte, citing police sources. Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, who was among those who walked from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica, gave the same estimate on the number of participants in the opening activity of the 2014 Fiesta Señor celebration.
It was raining heavily between 3 to 4 a.m. yesterday but “the rains stopped when the procession was about to start,” according to the vice mayor.
It was still drizzling when we left the house shortly before 5 a.m. on our way to the Cebu City Sports Center but by the time we got off at corner V. Urgello St. and Osmeña Blvd., the rains have gone completely. It started raining again after the tailend of the procession passed the Abellana National High School.
I am not prepared to ascribe anything miraculous about the rains’ vanishing just when the devotees started walking with Jesus but I will not blame those who will claim intervention of the divine hand in the happening. Anyway, I don’t think the rains, no matter how heavy, would have discouraged the devotees from joining the procession.
Their faith was overwhelming. I walked with them up to R. Landon St. and was touched by the sight of so many people in earnest supplication. I don’t remember seeing anyone chatting with another or fiddling with his cell phone during that stretch.
Okay, so there was no one to call or text at that early hour but don’t these smart phones have games and free Facebook connections?
Church leaders earlier in the week asked for less revelry in this year’s celebration of the Sinulog. If what I saw was any indication, their appeal fell on fertile ground.
I pray that Church leaders do their share in the transformation of the Sinulog by putting an end to the commercialization of the novena masses. I have written about this many times in the past but the temptation of money seems too hard to resist even among holy men.
Not this year, I pray. Not after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that toppled the belfry of the Basilica and reduced into ruins most of the century-old churches in Bohol.
Certainly, not after Yolanda.
I look forward to not hearing the names of donors, whom they euphemistically call sponsors, read before the final blessing. I hope there is no more of that shameful practice of flashing the names of these sponsors in the same electronic board where earlier the “gozos” is shown for the faithful to sing.
If the purpose in publicizing the names of the donors is to thank them, surely, this can be done more privately such as when the donation was given. If the purpose is
transparency, a simple accounting report after the fiesta will do.
But if the purpose is to play on the ego of men (and women) so that they will donate more because their names will be announced to the public, then I say that it is disgusting. I do not think Pope Francis would commend it.
So I appeal not only to the Church leaders but also to the donors. Give without expecting to be acknowledged. There is only one who should know about your Christian charity: God and He already knows. He always does.
I know I am going to get into trouble with some priests and lay leaders in doing this.
Every time I did this in the past, I got a good dose of hate mails. But I am not going to stop exposing this crude and tasteless commercialization of the holy mass until it is put to an end.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 10, 2014.