THE Diocese of Bacolod, led by Bacolod Bishop Patricio Buzon, celebrated the feast of San Sebastian, the patron saint of the Diocese of Bacolod Friday, January 20, as a non-working holiday for the Catholic-run schools in the city.

San Sebastian is also a Christian saint and martyr who served as the patron saint of the soldiers, athletes, and archers.

The Diocese of Bacolod offered a concelebrated mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral officiated by the Bishop and attended by Catholic clergies in Bacolod City.

The Catholic faithful fully occupied the Cathedral. Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Abelardo "Albee" Benitez and Abang Lingkod Partylist Representative Stephen Joseph Paduano and his spouse also attended the mass.

Bishop Buzon said, “Our celebration for this year, whatever it is, is a celebration of revenge because we have been deprived of celebrating feasts and holding gatherings during the pandemic. We celebrate now, but still in a cautious manner. But the important thing is we could gather to celebrate the feast.”

This year's theme “San Sebastian, modelo sang pagkatinugyanan” reflects on the spirituality of stewardship.

He shared that, “This spirituality of stewardship is the way of living the discipleship of Christ. It teaches us how to live being disciples of Christ. The foundation of this spirituality is that we are just stewards and not owners of anything that we currently enjoy.”

Buzon added that we entered this earth with nothing and left this earth with nothing, even a single centavo. He quoted St. Peter saying, “What do you have that you have not received? But why do you claim it as your own if you received it? Everything we enjoy now comes from the grace of God. We entered this world naked, and yet, from Day 1, He put into our hands, hearts lives, gift after gift, grace after grace - all of it came from God. And for what?”

For His purpose. To experience His love, that overflowing love, when we are aware of this primordial truth, we enjoy the fruits of the spirituality of stewardship. First, we become grateful because of His grace. We are always thankful to God, whatever happens to us. If we are aware of His grace, we cannot do but be joyful. Joy is simply the overflow of a grateful heart. Second, we can be responsible for our acts because all came from Him. We will ask us, what have we done to the gifts, the talents that He gave us? Let us use it, develop it and make it multiply. Third, we become generous because of the generosity of God to us, the Bishop said.

He further said, “We cannot do but reciprocate such generosity. When God gives us, it is more than enough of what we deserve and what we need. It is because God wants us to share such blessings with others. These are the three fruits of the spirituality of stewardship. San Sebastian lived in this manner. The special gift he valued so much is the gift of faith, how he valued and defended it, even risking his life. He felt responsible for his brothers and sisters who equally share this faith. He saved a lot of Christians who were persecuted in those times. How many soldiers like him were converted to the faith that he has? He all brought them to Christ. He is a real steward of faith in God. He even converted those enjoying different levels in society. He shared his faith with God.”

He said that while others’ feasts were widely celebrated, just like the Sinulog in honor of Senor Santo Niño, the feast of San Sebastian still has to be known to the local faithful. The religious significance of celebrating his feast.

Traslacion

The Traslacion is a new add-on to the celebration of the feast of San Sebastian, where the image of San Sebastian will be honored in a procession that starts from Magsungay to San Sebastian Cathedral.

What is the essence of our devotion to San Sebastian? We should learn from him in his faith that he received, nurtured, propagated and defended it. We can become imitators of him.

In his ordinary life as a soldier, what a steward he has on the authority he receives in his profession. He knew that such authority given to him was meant to protect the people and, more so, to protect the Christians who were persecuted.

“Those of us who are given the authority as stewardship, those in public office, in government, such power that you have is not yours. We don't own such authority. It was given to our public servants to serve the people and to promote not your self-interest but the good of the public or the common good. The same is also expected of us, the parents, the educators and those who enjoy authority in the workplace. We should live in the consciousness that all these are given to us in trust. And we never abuse it but instead use it for the good of others, for the service of others. Even me as your Bishop and all the priests here, we have been given such authority directly from God, not for ourselves. We are not owners of the Church. As a Bishop, I was entrusted with this authority, and I am answerable to Christ. Canonically, the Bishop goes to the Vatican every five years to make a report on the Diocese's life. The reports are religiously documented because they want to know it, and the Vatican will give us an assessment. We are here to serve the Church and the people best and are accountable and answerable for our acts. In two or three years from now, you will have another Bishop,” he concluded.

Moreover, the celebration was held peacefully and on holiday in all Catholic schools.