IT IS San Diego Fiesta again in Silay on November 13 (Monday). This is also a one-week celebration that started on November 5 (Negros Day). I remember the late Mom Thelma Quevenco. When she was still working at the parish office, she would always update me about the fiesta activities.

Fiesta celebration is in progress. The public plaza dominantly featured what San Diego fiesta celebration is all about… chicken inasal stalls, RTW kiosks, “ukay-ukay” counters, and the “peryahan area” domineered by games of chance that lure the “money balon” of elementary kids. The “peryahan” is just in front of Silay North Elementary School. I hope something is being done about it. In strategic places inside the plaza, the fast food stands are flowering. All of these have nothing to do with the values and virtues of San Diego.

We would like to thank also the parish council and the fiesta organizers with Fr. Orlando Gargar (my good friend) for having meaningful liturgical activities. The novena masses are making the Silay Catholics aware on what we could have been done. We have a good number of the faithful attending the scheduled masses. The Silaynons seem to pay attention to the sermon that is just enough (not very long).

The Silay City Government is very cooperative by allowing the policemen, watchmen, traffic enforcers, plaza cleaners, electricians, utility workers, rescue team, first aid team, and other government employees to extend the best cooperation to the program organizers. This is a good example of the covenant of cooperation between the church and the state.

Liturgical activities are in the church while cultural-educational-tourism events are being held at the plaza covered court. The organizers have reached out to the different Christian communities and government agencies to send their members and employees to the events and participate in the nightly programs. This could be another busy weeks for the children, teachers, and employees who would sneak out from their routine work “to practice for perfection.”

San Diego belongs to the Franciscan Order. His life is full of challenges, commitment and dedication to God. That could be the reason why he was canonized a saint. His story is interesting with figments of spirituality, heroism, miracle and personal devotion and concern for others. If his life is filmed, it could be a blockbuster. The event in his life had been amazing that even the angels and other saints would make the theater “standing room”.

Can the Silaynons follow the footsteps of Diego? He is rated A for his compassion for those in need. Better off Catholics in Silay are aware of the situation of the hacienda workers. They are getting old but most of them have not tasted the maximum salary provided by the law. We could look at their houses and see the “image and likeness of God” in their life. I do not recommend their lives to be filmed. Camera men and directors are not allowed to get inside private property.

Who are those in need? We don’t need to define. We meet everyday the street children, the “buangs” who loiter our streets, the beggars who are in troop formation outside the church after the mass, the aged who are just in street corners opening their palms, and the Badjaos who are here in Silay for the fiesta and to beg for alms. There could be more characters out there whose lives are undocumented. We want Silaynons to understand them for Diego.

Friar Diego loved animals and plants. We can love our dogs, our carabaos, and our fighting cocks. We can love more our neighbors, our children, and even our enemies (political or physical) because they are the superior animals in Kingdom Mammalia. Just love them unconditionally without definition. We love the plants but our floods are becoming very heavy. That simply goes to show that cutting of trees in the forest is still rampant.

San Diego is having the virtues of patience, compassion, charity and complete love and trust of God. What is left of San Diego is just a memory. His wooden cross reminds us to live like Christ. Diego is not Christ, not God, not even a president. Let us not look at the miracles that happened because of Diego. Let us look at the miracles that we want to happen to us. Miracles are happening in our life every day. We are not just aware.

Start a day by allowing a miracle to happen to you. Don’t shout at your maid. Do not berate your employees for what you don’t know. Do not be envious at somebody because you are not beautiful. Do not hate others because you did not win last election. How can you celebrate Diego’s fiesta if you are not like this. Only Diego can be Diego. Diego’s fans should transform first! Try to be Diego for others.

Silaynons, let us enjoy our fiesta because we know what we are celebrating for.