AMID the continuing threat of the infectious coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Archdiocese of Caceres has decided to cancel anew the traditional traslacion and fluvial processions for the Feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol Region.
According to Circular No. 14-2021, there will be no foot processions during the entire feast in September.
"The traditional traslacion and fluvial processions and all other forms of foot processions are cancelled this year," said Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tirona.
"The images of the Divino Rostro and Our Lady of Peñafrancia will remain at the Peñafrancia Parish Church and Basilica Minore, respectively, during the entire duration of the festivities," he added.
However, motorcade processions may be held on September 10 and 19 with proper coordination with the local government unit.
The prelate said the cancellation of the traditional processions is part of the Church’s Covid-19 pandemic.
"Given the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be a threat to public health, it is of higher value to celebrate the Peñafrancia Fiesta in solemn thanksgiving to our 'Ina', who has always protected us from harm," said Tirona.
In lieu of the traditional activities, the Caceres Archdiocese said parishes shall hold novenary masses from September 10 to 18 with all public masses to observe necessary health protocols. These will also be livestreamed.
"We encourage families to practice the devotion in their respective homes. Novena prayers and family guide are available on the Archdiocesan website (www.archdioceseofcaceres.org)," said the prelate.
Tirona said other dioceses in the Bicol Region are highly encouraged to hold novena masses on the same dates so that devotees residing in their localities may also express their devotion without having to go to Naga City.
He called on devotees to take advantage of the changes to rediscover their devotion.
"While we cancel the traditional Traslacion and Fluvial processions, let us take this as an opportunity for the devotion to become more distinctive and rooted in our families, the domestic Church," said Tirona.
The annual feast in Naga City has traditionally become a venue for Bicolanos to meet their relatives, friends and fellow devotees, share food, drinks, and prayers with them, and pay homage and give thanks to their patroness. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)