The week-long Sinulog Festival culminated yesterday with a plea for unity among Filipinos from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and dances that did not only venerate the Santo Niño but showcase a common desire for peaceful co-existence among various faiths.
Speaking before thousands of people who attended the 6 a.m. pontifical Mass to celebrate the feast of the Child Jesus at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño’s Pilgrim Center on Sunday, Palma called for tolerance and collaboration.
“Let us stop competing against each other but rather appreciate each one as God’s children,” he said in his homily. “Let us collaborate with each other so as to find progress and peace.”
“Be it problem on traffic, water, or garbage, we should be united and put our service for the good of society and for the glory of God,” said Palma.
The Sto. Niño, he said, is the source of communion and holds all creation together.
Palma concelebrated the Mass with Bishops Christian Noel and Antonio Palang; Fr. Andres Rivera Jr., the prior provincial of the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu-Philippines; Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr., the Basilica rector; and around 60 religious and diocesan priests.
The third Sunday of January is celebrated as the Feast of the Sto. Niño in the Philippines, a special privilege given to the country by the Holy See due to the Filipinos’ special and unique devotion to the Christ Child.
More popularly known as the Sinulog Festival, the feast also showcased a grand parade which saw out-of-town contingents — Tangub City and Lanao del Norte — bagging the top prizes in the Sinulog-based and Free Interpretation categories, respectively.
With a storyline of uniting Muslims and Christians represented by the Dimaporo, a royal Maranao clan, and the Christian Quibranza families through the “kanduri” or the grand call for celebration by Maranaos, the Lanao del Norte contingent won the hearts of the judges and the spectators alike.
“Lanao had a very well thought-out production. It was a total production including a unique storyline about peacemaking between Christians and Muslims . . .,” Nestor Jardin, chairman of the board of judges for the free interpretation category, told reporters shortly after the public announcement of winners. – Cebu Daily News