Open field ready for Pedro’s National Thanksgiving Mass

Posted on November 30, 2012


An open field in the South Road Properties (SRP) will fill up today with thousands of devotees under the watchful eyes of over 1,500 policemen for the National Thanksgiving Mass for St. Pedro Calungsod.

The SRP was closed to vehicular traffic at 10 p.m. last night to set up rerouting signs and will reopen at 7 a.m.

The crowd, expected to reach over one million, poses a special challenge for Catholic church officials who are prepared to “feed” the faithful during the Mass and distribute holy wafers during communion.

Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal will preside over the 5 p.m. thanksgiving Mass, which will be broadcast live on TV and video streamed to an audience of millions around the country and abroad.

Twelve giant LED screens mounted in the field will give participants a better view of the liturgical rites unfolding in the templete, an elevated concrete-and-bamboo structure.

In the 27-hectare site, a reclamation lot backfilled with dirt and limestone for the historic event, most of the participants will have to stand throughout the series of activities which start before noon with foot processions
Only vehicles with passes issued by the Archdiocese of Cebu as well as shuttle buses which would ferry people to the site are allowed to enter the area.

President Benigno Aquino III and Vice-President Jejomar Binay are among several government officials and Church leaders who will grace the event.

Expect tighter security in coming to the 27-hectare field where the celebration will be held.

At 2 p.m., a fluvial procession along the Mactan Channel will bring the image of St. Pedro Calungsod to the templete or little temple which houses the main altar.

An hour before the sea parade, 76 carrozas carrying patron saints of various parishes in Cebu, will make their way to the venue.

“We are basically ready although there are still somethings that need fine-tuning,” Msgr. Dennis Villarojo, the overall chairman of the Cebu celebration for Calungsod’s sainthood, said.

He urged the people to make use of the celebration to get closer to the Lord.

“We should continue the spirit of penance and prayerful atmosphere so that we will be able to experience the spiritual fruits of the occasion,” Villarojo told Cebu Daily News.

“This is a celebration of the Eucharist. We should keep a solemn demeanor,” he added.

There will be no Masses in all parishes in Cebu from 12 noon onwards.

Anyone who can’t go to the SRP can watch the thanksgiving Mass through the Cebu Catholic Television Network and other stations. Internet users can also log on to for a live streaming of the activities.

Radio stations will also broadcast the events live.
On site 12 giant LCD screens will be mounted in different parts of the vast field to allow the crowd to see at is going in the altar.

At least 20 golf carts and three electric cars from Mandaue City will transport the elderly and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

Bishops who will be brought from the nearby St. Pedro Calungsod Chapel at the SM Seaside City to the templete through vans. The chapel serves as their holding area before the Mass.

Although there are 12,000 monobloc chairs for guests, people are urged to bring their own portable chairs.

Sixteen medical stations can also be found in the venue. Each medical station has one standby ambulance. At least three firetrucks will also be stationed at the SRP.

Portalets and comfort rooms are located at the sides of the templete.

In going to the SRP, people can take the free shuttle buses. Bus stops are located in front of the Talisay City Hall and a block away from the SRP tunnel.


The thanksgiving Mass will start at 5 p.m.

It will be presided over by Cardinal Vidal who is also celebrating his 41st episcopal anniversary today.

The 81-year-old prelate, who has been the prime mover for Calungsod’s cause for sainthood, was requested by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to lead the thanksgiving Mass.

Other than Vidal, the other cardinals who will be present in today’s liturgy include Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints; Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle; Manila Archbishop Emeritus, and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

Agana, Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron; Most Rev. Giuseppe Pinto; the apostolic nuncio in the Philippines; and Rome-based priest, Fr. Fernando Rojo, the main postulator for Calungsod’s cause will also be around. Msgr. Villarojo said at least 53 bishops and around 700 priests have confirmed to attend the event.

During communion, Villarojo advised the people not to flock to the main altar.

“They should stay put until they see a communion distributor marked by umbrellas,” he said.

Villarojo said there are 2,000 communion distributors. Of the number 1,600 are lay ministers. They will be augmented by priests and nuns.

After the communion, Pinto, the papal nuncio, will deliver a message.

President Aquino, who sought the permission of the archdiocese so he can deliver his message to the Filipinos, will have to make his piece after the Mass.

Fr. Raul Gallego, chairperson of the committee on venue, urged the people to bring along radios, water, flashlights, food, candles, portable chairs, and umbrellas.

On the other hand, people are prohibited from bringing guns and bladed weapons.

After the Mass and the message of the president, a cultural presentation will be made. This will be participated in by Pasigarbo sa Sugbo contingents from Minglanilla, Talisay City, and Mandaue City. The Lumad Basakanon, who has reaped awards during the Sinulog festivities, will also be part of the presentation.
Dinner for the special guests will be served at the Cebu International Convention Center. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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