THE Roman Catholic Church yesterday reminded the Cebuanos to â€œcelebrate the faith properly,â€ as it expressed apprehensions over people losing sight of the reason why the Sinulog, which they said is a religious event, is being celebrated.
It reminded everyone that many religious events have become â€œsecularized, politicized, and commercializedâ€ and challenged government officials to do something about it.
Msgr. Roberto Alesna, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral rector, said it is time for people to reflect on why the Cebuanos celebrate the Sinulog.â€œLet us purify and sanctify the celebration. Let us Christianize the joy of our celebration,â€ he said, quoting an earlier homily given by Fr. Rudy Bugna, Basilica rector.
Alesna was the main celebrant of the mass held at the Basilica del Sto. NiÃ±o Pilgrim Center prior to the Sinulog launching yesterday afternoon.
â€œReligious events have become so completely secularizedâ€¦politicized â€¦commercialized that people are celebrating themâ€¦even without knowing the reason why,â€ he said.
â€œNahadlok kita nga mahuman na lang kining tulumanon dili na as a great religious event,â€ he added.
He started his homily with the warning made by Acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on politicians who will use the festivity for their political designs in 2010.
Rama yesterday said speeches by politicians during the grand parade will not be allowed.
He said, though, that Mayor Tomas OsmeÃ±a giving his Sinulog message through phone-patch or tele-conferencing will be another thing.
Devotees, representatives of different schools, Cebu City officials led by Rama, and Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia attended yesterdayâ€™s mass, which was followed by a parade toward Fuente OsmeÃ±a.
Rama and the governor even sat together and submitted offerings together during the mass as a sign of unity of both local governments.
Garcia is also the lead dancer of the Tostados Festival, which is a guest contingent in the Jan. 18 grand parade.
Alesna challenged the government officials in attendance to lead the call to keep the celebration mostly as a religious event.
â€œAtong dawaton ang hagit ni SeÃ±or Sto. NiÃ±o that we celebrate the faith properly,â€ he said.
After the mass, Rama led the parade, which showcased 13 schools dancing to the Sinulog tune but presenting the different festivals of Cebu.
The participants passed by several giant billboards, which were set up by volunteers led by dancesport expert Edward Hayco, showing the different heritage and tourist sites of Cebu Province and Cebu City.
He said they mounted 23 billboards on OsmeÃ±a Blvd., starting from the Capitol to the Abellana National School.
Hayco said they have been setting up the billboards for the past four years to encourage both local and foreign visitors to see Cebu.
At the Fuente OsmeÃ±a park, the different schools again performed before Rama formally opened the start of the different Sinulog festivities.
After a short fireworks display that followed, Fuente became the battleground of Cebuana beauties with the staging of the Miss Cebu 2009 pre-pageant night, which used the fountain as backdrop.
Rama apologized for the traffic jams that resulted from the closure of OsmeÃ±a Blvd. because of the parade.
â€œMangayo miâ€™g pasaylo kay fiesta man naa gyuy disturbance ug uban pa. Kini atong gibuhat in honor of SeÃ±or Sto. NiÃ±o,â€ he said. RHM