NAGA CITY, Sept. 17, 2015 – Pedicab, also knows as “padyak” drivers, and mostly male public school teachers will be this year’s privileged sectors to accompany the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia on her short voyage back to her home, the Basilica Minore, during the traditional fluvial procession on Sept.19, Saturday.
Archbishop of Caceres, Most Rev. Rolando Tria- Tirona, OCD, DD announced the news to members of the local media, adding there were no high- profile politicians invited to board the pagoda as it traverses the Naga River for the annual water procession.
Tirona cited Pope Francis’ statements on inclusiveness, saying all should be given a chance to participate in this religious event.
“The poor played central role in the Sacred Scripture. Jesus, the fulfillment of the Scriptures was himself poor when he offered his life for us on the cross. Mary was also poor when she lived her life in obedience to the Will of the Father from the annunciation to the foot of the cross. Poverty in its many faces is best understood in the context of our Faith revealed to us in the Scriptures. Spiritual poverty is not impoverishment but richness in the love of God to us through Jesus,” Tirona shared, touching on this year’s theme for the celebration: “Living out God’s Mercy and Compassion in the Year of the Poor.”
Caceres Commission on Communications (CCCom) chairman Fr. Louie Occiano announced that aside from the sectors mentioned by Tirona, there will also be other groups that will have a chance to get close to the image of Inang Peñafrancia in the pagoda.
“There will be slots for the media and other sectors of the society. The maximum number of the capacity of the Pagoda is 180. Other dioceses will be given 4 slots, so we will be having teachers from the other Bicol provinces. Local bishops will also be included in the pagoda. The role of the bishops is to bless the people along the riverbanks,” Occiano added.
Tirona, upon heading the Archdiocese of Caceres in 2012, overturned the traditional inclusion of “elite” guests in the pagoda passengers when he declared last year that ordinary people will finally enjoy the privilege of joining Inang Peñafrancia during the traditional Fluvial procession.
Last year, it was the fisherfolks and farmers from various parts of the region who were invited to be part of the said procession. (Ana-Liza S. Macatangay / CBCP News)