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Peñafrancia Festival ends with thanksgiving Mass

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur (PIA)— The city government of Naga thru the Joint Operations Center-Inter-Agency Task Force Group formally closed this year’s Peñafrancia festivities with a thanksgiving mass and awarding of certificates of merit to its partners, held Wednesday at the Basilica Minore here.

City Mayor Nelson Legacion attributed the successful yet solemn celebration of the Peñafrancia to the very strong partnership that was formed from the very start of the planning up to the realization of holding the event traditionally amidst fear of the COVID-19 virus spread.

“After the successful, orderly, and solemn celebration of the Peñafrancia feast, I can only think of one reason why we were able to do it- partnership. It’s a very strong partnership with the Archdiocese of Caceres, other government agencies, private institutions, and all the volunteers.

Images of Divino Rostro and Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia aboard the Andas during the Fluvial procession held Sept. 17, 2022. (Photo credits: Archdiocese of Caceres Fb page)

It’s a partnership based on faith. Our ability to go beyond our limitations because of our enduring faith for Ina made all these things possible,” Legacion said after the thanksgiving mass.

Legacion bared that the decision to push with the traditional celebration, especially the conduct of Traslacion and fluvial processions was not easy especially during the time that the vaccination rate in Naga was still way below the target number to reach herd immunity.

The chief executive added that the LGU started planning in March.  All odds are against the resumption of the traditional celebration since during that time there is a high probability that a large gathering might result in the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

During the 1st quarter of the year, very few are willing to get vaccinated and the large majority of the Nagueños are adamant about getting inoculated.

Archdiocese of Caceres Archbishop Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria-Tirona, OCD, DD, who officiated today’s thanksgiving mass, said that we have to thank God for the gift of faith, collaboration, and vision –these, he said, enabled every pilgrim to experience once again their deep sense of devotion to Ina.

“We are not competing, but completing each other. You see the letter that was added to compete to make it complete is letter L, and letter L stands for love – our love for the Blessed Mother,” Archbishop Tirona said during his homily.

After the short program, certificates of merit were awarded to the members of the JOC, IATF.

Recipients of the recognition were the members of the Advisory Committee headed by Public Safety Office Executive Director Renne F. Gumba; Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia Rector, Rev.Msgr Rodel M. Cajot, PC, VG; Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia Vice- Rector Rev.Fr.Juan Pablo Z. Carpio; Naga Metropolitan Cathedral Rector and Parish Priest of St. John the Evangelist Rev. Fr. Noe P. Badiola, PC; Archdiocese of Caceres Secretary to the Archbishop Rev.Fr. Gerome N. Pelagio , among others. 

Other members of the Advisory Committee were Naga City Administrator Elmer S. Baldemoro and Acting Secretary to the Mayor Paul John F. Barrosa.

Other working committees and groups who were cited for their cooperation and assistance were the Joint Task Group for Public Safety, Traffic, and Enforcement headed by Naga City Police Office Deputy City Director for Administration PLTCOL Errol T. Garchitorena; Joint Task Force Group for Security, Peace and Order headed by 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army 902nd Brigade Commander COL Edmundo Peralta INF (MNSA) PA; Joint Task Force Fluvial under the headship of Naval Forces Southern Luzon Acting Commander Commodore Jose Ma Ambrosio Q. Ezpleta, PN and City Health Officer Dr. Vito Borja as the head of the joint Task Force for Health and Medical Cluster.

The city government also thanked the Joint Information Center headed by City Events, Protocol and Public Information Office Department Head Allen Reaondanga with its partners:  Caceres Commission on Communications Director, Fr. Luisito Occiano; Philippine Information Agency-Camarines Sur Provincial Head Ana-Liza S. Macatangay; City Hall Press Corps President Roy San Ramon and Naga City Communication Center (COMCEN) Unit Chief Janet Barrios.

All media outlets in Camarines Sur also actively covered the highlights of this year’s Peñafrancia festivity.(PIA 5/Camarines Sur)

Archdiocese of Caceres Archbishop Most Rev. Rolando J. Tria-Tirona, OCD, DD, (left), PIA Camarines Sur Provincial Head Ana-Liza S.Macatangay, one of the active partners of the JOC and Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion (right) during the thanksgiving mass and awarding of Certificate of Merit to the Joint Information Center-Inter-agency Task Group held at the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, September 22, 2022. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)

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Ana-liza Macatangay

Regional Editor

Region 5

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