Bohol fiestas to be different, simple, church leaders say
CORTES, Bohol, April 16 (PIA) — As the fiesta month is coming, there will be fiestas in Bohol in May but it would be far from the famous fiesta images Bohol is associated with.
This if people would toe the line drawn by Diocese of Tagbilaran Bishop Alberto Uy and Diocese of Talibon Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon in their joint pastoral letter “On Celebrating Fiestas” read in all Catholic churches during the Easter masses on April 12.
The two bishops, in consultation with Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap and with discernment, have decided that fiestas in Bohol this May continues, but it will be different and done in a simple way.
“In a short while, Boholanos will be celebrating once again our fiestas in our respective parishes, chapels or BEC clusters. There are people who ask shall we continue celebrating our fiestas in these trying times?” the pastoral letter opens.
On this, the bishops, knowing that fiestas are the Boholano way of thanking the Most Almighty God with the intercession of the patron saints for the graces received, have something to be thankful about especially for sparing Bohol and its people from the dreaded coronavirus disease.
They have decided to continue celebrating fiestas in these times even amidst the health crisis.
But due to the current difficult situation, both church leaders have hinted at celebrations devoid of the lavish banquets that outshone the reality of the religious foundations of the celebrations.
For the guidance of the faithful, the fiestas that start on April 27 would still have the traditional church novenas and fiesta masses in the church of the parish that celebrates the fiesta.
The church leaders, however, stressed that these should all be private masses where parishioners are not allowed to physically attend.
By private masses, only the Parish Priest, together with his parochial vicar or vicars and a few servers, are allowed to attend.
With this, the bishops also encouraged priests to find ways to broadcast the church celebration, starting from the novena up to the fiesta proper, where mounted exterior speakers are encouraged so the faithful can also participate from their homes.
Parishioners are also encouraged to join the fiesta celebration especially the Masses, by using radio, television, or online broadcasts such as Facebook, the pastoral letter said.
There will still be traditional vespers procession, too, where the image of the patron saint or devotions are paraded across town, but this time with the use of a pick-up truck.
As this happens, the faithful staying at home where the procession passes are encouraged to light candles in their frontage while maintaining silence and praying as the image of the patron passes by.
As for the food, the pastoral letter said preparing food is allowed, but profusely spending when many do not have anything to eat becomes “inappropriate.”
Along this line, the bishops think it would also be unfit if guests are invited when the order to observe social distancing is still imposed.
The bishops encouraged those which are willing and are able to share their food with their poor neighbors and hungry brethren.
The bishops quoted the words of Jesus in Luke 14:12-13 to inspire the masses in this time of great crisis: “When you hold a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors…. Rather, invite the poor, the cripple, the lame, the blind…blessed indeed will you be….You will be repaid by God.” (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)