WITH the current pandemic, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu (BMSN) said devotees and pilgrims can expect adjusted religious activities for the Sinulog 2021, in honor of the blessed image of the Senior Sto. Niño celebrated every third Sunday of January.
Rev. Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA of the BMSN, during the launching of the social media activities for the celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) in the Philippines, last Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, assured that even with the current crisis, the yearly religious celebration will still push through, as one of the highlights of the 500 YOC.
He said the coordination with the City Government of Cebu is still ongoing and they have initially proposed equivalent activities for the celebration next year
These activities are is fit to the protocols set by the government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He, however, did not specify these activities yet pending finalization.
"Kani tanan, naa pa sa level sa proposal. Tungod kay dili pa gyod ni sya ingon official, ang ako lang masulti is this, first, naa gihapon tay mga equivalent nga mga celebrations kung unsay atong naandang buhaton," he said
"So, kung naay Walk with Jesus, Walk with Mary, naa siya'y equivalent nga atong buhaton," he added.
He said among the early considerations is the possible lengthening of the routes should there still be procession or motorcade to reach out to more devotees.
This is to ensure appropriate physical distancing considering the risk of the Covid-19 might still be there by that time.
Reyes said they are praying that Cebu and the country will be under the new normal situation by January 2021, as the specifics of this plan are also dependent on the community quarantine status of Cebu City by January next year.
Last January 9, an estimated 300,000 devotees joined the annual penitential procession known as the "Walk with Jesus" from Fuente Osmeña to the BMSN while almost the same number joined the Walk with Mary held eight days after.
Moreover, Reyes said there will still be the novena masses before the actual feast day.
The arrival of the Blessed Image of Sto. Niño, the First Baptism and the First Mass in the country are associated and important events in the history of the spread of Christianity in the country.
The original feast date for the image of the Child Jesus was April 28 but with the approval of Pope Innocent the XIII in the 18th century, the feast was moved to the third Sunday of January to avoid conflict with the "Eastertide" or 50-day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.(WBS)