WITH the current pandemic, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu (BMSN) said devotees and pilgrims can expect adjusted religious activities for the Sinulog 2021, in honor of the blessed image of the Señor Sto. Niño celebrated every third Sunday of January.
On Sept. 26, 2020, during the launching of the social media activities for the incoming celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) in the Philippines, BSMN’s Rev. Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA assured that even with the current crisis, the yearly religious celebration will still push through, as one of the highlights of the 500 YOC.
He said coordination with the City government of Cebu is still ongoing and that they have initially proposed activities for next year’s celebration that are fit for the protocol set by the government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He, however, did not specify these activities yet, as they are still pending finalization.
He said: “All these are still on the proposal level. Nothing is final yet so all I can say for now is that we will have activities that are equivalent to those that we’re used to. For example, we used to do Walk with Jesus, Walk with Mary. For next year, we will have activities equivalent to those.”
He said among the early considerations is the possible lengthening of the routes should there still be a procession or motorcade to reach more devotees and ensure appropriate distancing considering that Covid-19 might still be there by that time.
Reyes said they are praying that Cebu and the country will be under the new normal by January 2021, as the specifics of this plan are also dependent on the community quarantine status of Cebu City by January next year.
On January 9, 2020, an estimated 300,000 devotees joined the annual penitential procession known as the “Walk with Jesus” from Fuente Osmeña to the BMSN while almost the same number joined the Walk with Mary held eight days after.
Moreover, Reyes said there will still be novena masses before the actual feast day.
The arrival of the Blessed Image of Sto. Niño, the First Baptism and the First Mass in the country are associated with and are important events in the history of the spread of Christianity in the country.
The original feast date for the image of the Child Jesus was April 28 but with the approval of Pope Innocent the XIII in the 18th century, the feast was moved to the third Sunday of January to avoid conflict with the “Eastertide” or 50-day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. (WBS)