By Jason B. Neola
NAGA CITY --- Most Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona, archbishop of Caceres, extended his laudatory gesture to government officials, police and military personnel for their fraternal participation and dedicated service during the celebration here of the Peñafrancia fiesta.
Tirona’s congratulatory message was read by Fr. Darius Romualdo, chancellor of Archdiocese of Caceres, before the crowded City Hall grounds last Monday after the flag raising ceremony where city government officials and employees, several hundreds of personnel from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Bureau of Fire Protection and other heads and members of inter-agency task groups assembled for a send-off rite.
The farewell ceremony was highlighted by the awarding of certificates to personnel and volunteers of the Joint Operations Center (JOC), delivery of ‘thank you’ speeches, photo sessions, reciting of prayers for the parting groups, and blessing them with holy water.
In his letter, Tirona told the gathering that he has seen their hardwork and sacrifices to make the celebration of Ina’s fiesta truly edifying and meaningful. “In the same manner, I noticed that your efforts and hard work for the success of our Peñafrancia fiesta is remarkable. My gratitude to all of you, especially to those with direct assignments or tasks during the two week festivities,” the archbishop said.
Tirona also thanked the devotees “for being models of true love and devotion to Nuestra Sra. De Peñafrancia because of their prayers and active participation during the novenario to the Divino Rostro and to Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Reading Tirona’s message, Romualdo said: “To all of you who rendered service to make our festivities peaceful and orderly, I have seen your way of humble service as an expression of love and veneration to Ina. This gives me tremendous joy. I salute all of you involved in various religious and civic activities because you certainly have served with dignity and devotion.”
He said that he is confident that Ina will help to sustain you all with God’s grace and blessing including your families. “I also conveyed my gratitude to those who have been our partners in making 2018’s celebration of Our Lady of Peñafrancia a magnificent and blessed one,” he said.
Lastly, the prelate also thanked the priests and parishioners in charge of the pilgrim churches, the city government of Naga headed by Mayor John Bongat and the entire Bicolandia for welcoming the countless pilgrims and devotees, for making facilities available to them, and for ultimately proving that this place of Ina is a fitting place for worship and devotion.
The Peñafrancia fiesta was celebrated in this pilgrim city with relatively good weather, unperturbed by the disturbances and catastrophic events brought by super typhoon Ompong that made a landfall at dawn of September 15 in Cagayan province, when the 2-week festivity was on its concluding part.