Bishops, clergy go "Panagsandurot sa Siquijor"
by Rizalie A. Calibo
Siquijor, Siquijor (14 September) -- It seemed like a real fiesta celebration in the island of Siquijor when the more than 200 bishops and priests from the dioceses of Bacolod, Dumaguete, Kabankalan and San Carlos gathered here Tuesday (September 4) for the 6th Negros-Siquijor Clergy Festival dubbed "Panagsandurot sa Siquijor".
Days before the grand affair, the province was already set in a festive mood as the "lay faithful" from all parishes in Siquijor moved 'heaven and earth' to make the gathering truly memorable for the clergy.
A welcome treat at the St. Francis of Assisi Convent was tendered early morning of the big day to welcome all the arriving guests which include His Excellency Most Reverend: Vicente Navarra of Bacolod, John F. Du of Dumaguete, Patricio Buzon of Kabankalan and Jose Advincula of San Carlos and their flocks.
A tour around the island followed, where heavy snacks loaded with the province's delights like 'torta' and more, lovingly prepared by the parishioners of Lazi, were served at the St. Isidore Convent.
Parishioners of Maria, on one hand prepared their sumptuous lunch and a short program graced by its Mayor Vicky Padayhag.
Games such as Tennis, Basketball and Volleyball were played in the towns of Siquijor and Larena.
A cultural night with a "Barrio Fiesta" ambiance was set at the Siquijor State College (SSC) Gymnasium with the parishioners, local officials, students and the SSC president himself attending to entertain the guests.
Part of the activities of the cultural night were the famous SOLILI dance of Siquijor performed by the SSC Filipina Folkloric Dance Troupe and the lively cultural presentations from each diocese.
Messages were given by the bishops and other religious personalities, all thanking Siquijor for giving them the taste of the culture of the island.
"I find this a very healthy pilgrimage," says a priest from Bacolod. ""We have been so lavished with love," also says Bishop Advincula while pointing out the real aim of the gathering, that is promoting unity and camaraderie among the clergy and the lay people.
Finally, the gathering was ended with a Holy Mass celebrated early morning of September 5 at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish.
Meanwhile, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has declared Sept. 12 of this year as a National Day of Prayer and reconciliation to promote peace and unity among Filipinos and thereby sustain national development and progress.
In Proclamation No. 1362 she signed last Aug. 15, the President cited the importance of the day in order to attain the national goals.
The President noted it is time to make "a reaffirmation of our commitment to this goal through personal reflection, change in attitudes, and solidarity for the public welfare and the development of our country."
She said the goal of peace and unity has, all too often, lost its relevance in a nation that is "beset by hostility, bitterness, constant conflict and too much politics."
Last year, the President also issued Proclamation No. 910 declaring Sept.12 as a National Day of Prayer, Conversion, Reparation and Consecration for Our Nation in order to promote peace and unity among Filipinos.
The President said that what is needed in a country facing several challenges is the steadfast devotion of every Filipino to work for the common good and for the betterment of the country. (PIA) [top]