MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 29, 2016 – Hundreds of parishioners from St. Francis of Assisi parish attended on Sunday, Sept. 25 a short liturgy led by Fr. Narciso Sampana to send off the Cross of Toril for the “LakBayan” (Paglalakbay Bayan), a yearly activity for the town feast that signifies where the Franciscans transferred the church of Meycauayan from its original site in “Toril” in 1587 to “Lagolo” in 1588, and finally, to its present location at Barrio Poblacion in 1668.
After entering the parish church, the Cross of Toril was enthroned in front of the altar following a Mass celebrated by Fr. Kent Andrew Apeña, a native of the parish who is also assigned as Asst. Prefect of Discipline at the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary.
Rewards in heaven
In his homily, Apeña urged the faithful to follow the life of St. Francis of Assisi who gave up his riches and lived a modest life abiding by the will of God. “Any good deed you have done will reach the heavens and will be rewarded by God,” said the priest.
The faithful, as was their custom, also flocked to the chapel of Sitio Bahay Pari (Sitio Toril) in Meycauayan City where the first church was established by Franciscan Friars Juan de Plasencia and Diego de Oropeza in 1587.
In a CBCPNews interview, Ronaldo Dionisio, who authored in 1998 the book N.S.P. S. Francisco de Asis “Kasaysayan ng Buhay Pananampalataya ng Meycauayan”, said the Cross of Toril was said to be left by the friars in their first church in Toril.
“It was only in 2001 that the Committee on Church Cultural Heritage in our parish found out about this important religious relic,” he said. “In 2003, the parish started the ‘LakBayan’ by parading the cross from Bahay Pari to Poblacion.”
Ma. Roella Saguno, former chairperson of the Parish Commission on Youth which co-organized the event, said the said activity should be witnessed and experienced by the parishioners, particularly the youth, as a great reminder on how Christianity flourished in their town.
“The ‘LakBayan’ also reminds the public about the coming feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the parish patron, this Oct. 4,” said Saguno. (Myraine Policarpio / CBCPNews)