Dinagsa: Focus on religious rites

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There was no “lamhitanay” this year, a unique highlight made fun with revelers freely putting water-based paint on the shirts or faces of just anyone they meet on the street.

No electric street party either, probably one of the biggest in the country that filled every nook and cranny of the city with tens of thousands of locals and visitors coming from out-of-town and other Negros LGUs.

VIRTUAL ACTIVITIES

But Cadiz City’s 2021 Dinagsa festivities went on. This time, mostly with virtual activities via various social media platforms, and toned down events to allow the observance of health protocols in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza officiates the fiesta mass held at the Cadiz Arena  |  Cadiz Tourism Photo

Because the threats posed by coronavirus remain, focus shifted to religious celebrations extolling the role of Señor Sto. Niño in the lives of Cadiznons and cultural competitions including a photo contest that showcased the annual fest of years past, costume design, short feature film and souvenir making, among others.

It would have been the highlight of Dinagsa Festival’s 47th edition Tuesday, Jan. 26, Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. said, adding that the current times, however, do not allow the people to have a blast.

VISITA ZONA & MASS

Instead, the city government, through its various units led by the City Tourism and Cultural Office under Juanily Ochavo Pedrosa, held a Visita Zona, a four-hour motorcade that brought the Sto. Niño de Cadiz, the city’s patron, all around the city and ended at the Sto. Niño Parish Church.

Yesterday, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, together with 25 other members of the clergy, was main celebrant of the fiesta mass held at the Cadiz Arena.

Also highlighting the day’s celebration was the fluvial parade that took off from the Cadiz City Port, where organizers mounted the Sto. Niño enroute to different points during the city-wide motorcade.

Alminaza, joined by Vicar General Monsignor Erwin Magnanao and Monsignor Jing Baldo, exhorted Cadiznons to renew their faith on the Sto. Niño (Child Jesus), whom he said is Heaven’s gift and   inspiration of the people for the mission in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BISHOP’S MESSAGE

In his homily, the prelate echoed that Sto. Niño is a gift to humanity and a symbol of the Filipinos’ devotion as the country commemorates 500 years since Catholicism was introduced on Philippine shores in 1521.

Catholicism flourished in this side of the globe and testimonial to that, is the fact that the Philippines is the third biggest, population-wise, Catholic country in the world behind Brazil and Mexico.

The Philippines, he said, has 70 million Catholics, representing 81 percent of the population in 86 dioceses.

Brazil has a Catholic population of 145 million or 79 percent, in 268 dioceses, while 87 percent of Mexico’s population or 142 million people are Catholics spread in 90 dioceses.

“We recall what God told his people Israel regarding his choice: “It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the Lord set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations.  It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity…” (Dt 7:7-8).  Only God’s freely given love can illuminate the choice of the Filipino people to receive this valuable gift of faith,” Alminaza said in his homily. – NND

OPINIONS