To be Fiesta 'hermano' and 'hermana' in a pandemic

·4 min read

LIKE almost everything else, the ongoing health crisis has impacted on the selection and timetable of announcement of the hermano and hermana mayores for the 456th Fiesta Señor celebration this year.

But while the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic had some impact on the celebration, it created opportunities for a meaningful and safe celebration. In addition, the quincentennial celebration of the birth of the Christian faith in the country makes for a "quite unique" festival.

The Augustinian community of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu proclaimed and installed couple Edmun and Anne Liu as hermano and hermana mayores for the 456th Fiesta Señor celebration during the Opening Salvo mass held on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Edmun Liu told SunStar Cebu, "To be chosen by the Augustinians this year is an honor, but also my wife and I feel we don't deserve this. But for the love and devotion to our Señor Sto. Niño, we are here to serve. Together with my wife, it is our duty to serve the Basilica during this year's festivity." He said this year is "quite unique" because of two things: first, it is because of the big event in the history of the Church, the Quincentennial celebration of the birth of the Christian faith in the country and, second, because the world is still in the middle of its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. "We would love to continue to express our love and devotion to the Sto. Niño in a safe manner," he said.

Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr., OSA, rector of the Basilica, led the installation of the Liu couple who inherited the positions of hermano and hermana mayores from Alan and Elvie Doromal.

OSA stands for the Order of Saint Augustine.

Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA, Fiesta Señor 2021 secretariat head, said the couple was nominated and eventually chosen to host this year's Fiesta Señor celebration because of their devotion to the Señor Sto. Niño (as Catholics of good standing) and for their efforts in extending help to the Cebuano community amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reyes said, having the role of hermano and hermana mayores, the couple is expected to help in making the Fiesta successful.

They are also tasked to be the ceremonial readers of the promotion of the devotion and help preside or lead the community towards their devotion to the Señor Sto. Niño.

He said there are also some monetary assistance for the Fiesta activities, with the amount depending on the generosity of the hermano and hermana mayores.

Edmun Liu is chief executive officer of Oakridge Realty Development Corp. He was also one of those behind the work of the Bayanihan Cebu PH, together with other private individuals and public officials, in converting the old Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu campus along Gen. Maxilom Ave. in Cebu City into a quarantine facility for patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 cases.

Edmun said for many years, their families, starting with their parents Knight Leo Liu and Dame Norma Liu have long been devotees of the Señor Sto. Niño.

They too, he recalled, were the hermano and hermana mayores in 2007.

He noted that traditionally, the hermano and hermana mayores are quite active not just during the fiesta, but throughout the year.

However, he said, this year is "quite unique" because of the Quincentennial celebration of the birth of the Christian faith in the country and the pandemic. "We are just there to serve and await how things will unfold for the Sinulog and for the 500th Year of Christianity in the country and from there make adjustments," he added.

Reyes said the process for the selection of this year's hermano and hermana mayores had been delayed because of the pandemic.

He said they normally present the selected hermano and hermana mayores to the public by Aug. 28 in time of the Feast Day of Saint Augustin.

He said they were only able to start with the preparations for the Fiesta when the Basilica opened its doors again to the public after the imposed high level of community quarantine status was eased last Aug. 2020.

He said they were only able to decide and deliberate on who would be this year's hermano and hermana mayores sometime in October last year. / WBS