Friday, November 30, 2012

First Bisaya Martyr San Pedro Calungsod

By Eddie O. Barrita

The 27-hectare site for the national thanksgiving mass for the first Visayan martyr San Pedro Calungsod at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City on Friday afternoon is turning into a sea of multi-colored umbrellas.

Organizers expected some one million devotees from all over Cebu and other parts of the country to attend the national celebration for the country's second saint.

The mass site, however, can accommodate only a little over half a million people, with a maximum of two persons per square meter of available space.

Organizers said the other devotees may spill over to other parts of the 300-hectare SRP.

Devotees loaded in buses from both the city's southern and northern part started pouring in at the mass site early morning Friday.

Many devotees wanted to enter the mass site early dawn Friday but were refused entry because of strict security measures.

By noon, the mass site has turned into a sea of umbrellas as devotees tried to protect themselves from the scorching heat of the noonday sun in the treeless mass site.

Organizers earlier urged devotees to bring umbrellas to prepare either for rain or the sun.

But as correctly forecast by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in Mactan, Cebu is enjoying fine weather Friday.

PAGASA Mactan Station Chief Oscar Tabada, in a special forecast for Cebu this week, said there is no tropical cyclone within the Philippine area of responsibility and there will be sunny skies during the whole day Friday with less chance of rain.

Among those expected at the event, which is spearheaded by the Archdiocese of Cebu, are high-ranking church officials, including Vatican City-based Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect for the Congregation of Saints and newly installed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

President Benigno Aquino III has arrived in Cebu at mid-morning Friday.

He is expected to deliver a speech after the 5 p.m. national thanksgiving mass to be officiated by Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

More devotees are joining two foot processions from the city's northern and southern districts and a fluvial procession at 1 p.m. that will bring the image of San Pedro Calungsod from the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to the SRP for the 5 p.m. mass.

Calungsod worked as a catechist in Guam with Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores.

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