CEBU, Philippines – The Augustinian Friars of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu announced on Tuesday, November 15, the return in 2023 of the Fiesta Señor with face-to-face events.
“After two years of hiatus from all public religious activities, the Friars have decided to resume all religious activities of the Fiesta Señor,” read their statement.
The Fiesta Señor is celebrated every year on the first Thursday after the Solemnity of the Epiphany and begins with a procession with the image of Santo Niño de Cebu. This is followed by the nine days of novena Masses.
“We will start our Fiesta Señor on the first day, January 5, 2023, at 3:30 am at Fuente Osmeña with the Penitential Walk with Jesus,” Fr John Miranda, the events secretariat, said in a press conference on Tuesday, November 15.
The priests said they will accommodate participating devotees at 100% capacity of the 3,500-seater Basilica.
The entire celebration draws thousands of devotees from all over the country to the province. However, due to the pandemic lockdowns in 2020, the national government postponed all physical activities, including religious events.
In January 2021, the friars announced that they could only allow the public to attend novena masses via live streams.
Here is the schedule for the 2023 Fiesta Señor celebration:
- January 5, 2023 – Opening Salvo (Walk With Jesus)
- January 5 to 14, 2023 – Novena Masses
- January 13, 2023 – Walk With Mary, Traslacion to Mandaue City
- January 14, 2023 – Traslacion to Lapu-Lapu City, Fluvial Procession, Reenactment, Solemn Foot Procession
- January 15, 2023 – Feast Day
- January 20, 2023 – Adlaw sa Hubo
Miranda said the Church will be mindful of health concerns during the two-week celebration.
“If we observe that we are already beyond capacity, we will ask for [arriving devotees] to stay put at the entrances,” Miranda said.
Miranda also clarified that they will first observe the number of people attending before implementing any crowd management protocols.
The priests reminded devotees planning to come for the Fiesta Señor to avoid bringing backpacks, wear face masks at all times, and refrain from taking pictures during the Holy Mass.
Police said that they will deploy around 4,900 personnel for the celebration.
“We need augmentation of personnel coming from different units. More or less, it will be at 3,000 personnel,” Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, Director of the Cebu City Police Office, said during the press conference.
For more details, you can check the official programs of the day-to-day events here. –Rappler.com