Basilica to implement 5,000 capacity limit for novena masses

Basilica to implement 5,000 capacity limit for novena masses
Photo from Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino de Cebu Facebook page

THE Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu will strictly observe a 5,000 capacity limit during the Fiesta Señor 2024 celebrations, particularly du­ring the novena masses.

This is to ensure the safety and order of the churchgoers participating in daily religious events, according to Fr. John Ion Miranda, secretariat for safety, security, peace and order for the Fiesta Señor 2024,

“Our venue can only accommodate up to 5,000. Unlike before, when there were too many people squeezing in, resembling sardines in a can, but now, we really prioritize safety,” he told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

Miranda said the crowd limit applies to every area of the Basilica compound, including the candlelight area, inside the main Basilica building, and the 3,500-seater courtyard or pilgrim center.

Miranda also said security guards at entry points will strictly monitor the number of devotees coming in.

He said all entry points will be located near the Plaza Sugbo area or Magellan’s Cross to facilitate the smooth flow of devotees entering the Basilica. Exit will be at the Osmeña Blvd. side.

Outside Basilica

However, he clarified that once the capacity limit is reached, devotees are still welcome to attend the novena masses outside the compound, where large LED screens will be set up.

“We should not worry since our celebration is extended at Plaza Sugbo (near City Hall) and also Osmeña Boulevard,” he added, saying all novena masses will be streamed through the Basilica’s Facebook and YouTube platforms.

Last year, the Basilica accommodated religious faithful exceeding the capacity limit as in-person novena masses resumed, allowing full capacity post the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January 2021, only 1,500 individuals were allowed in the Basilica’s compound so that physical distancing guidelines could be enforced. However, midway through the nine-day novena masses, they were abruptly canceled and shifted entirely to an online format due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Other reminders

Meanwhile, Miranda also shared additional reminders for churchgoers attending activities at the Basilica.

He said a courtesy lane will be provided for persons with disabilities, pregnant women and the elderly.

Miranda also emphasized the importance of wearing modest and appropriate clothing. He advised women to avoid wearing shorts, and in case of need, there are covers or “sarongs” available at the Basilica, though only 300 pieces are available.

On Dec. 29, 2023, the Basilica released an advisory outlining a nine-day novena in honor of Señor Sto. Niño. It kicks off with a penitential Walk with Jesus at 4 a.m. on Jan. 11, followed by a mass.

The novena concludes on Jan. 19 with a Walk with Mary at 4 a.m. and the Misa de Traslacion at 5 a.m.

The Traslacion, transporting the image of the Señor Sto. Niño to Mandaue City, starts at 6:45 a.m. on the same day, followed by another Traslacion to Lapu-Lapu City commencing at midnight.


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