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EDITORIAL: Disgraceful Voyadores

IN a world already marred by countless acts of disrespect and disregard for the holy, one would expect that the devotion of millions would be enough to inspire reverence and solemnity.

However, it is with great dismay that we find ourselves compelled to address a deeply disturbing incident that unfolded during the traslacion and fluvial foot processions of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and El Divino Rostro – the events meant to be a profound display of faith and devotion.

While it may be true that the icons being carried in the processions are crafted from human hands, the images of ‘Mahal na Ina’ and the Divino Rostro symbolize Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus – persons to whom we dedicate our love and devotion. Therefore, it is essential that we show them our utmost respect.

The voyadores, individuals entrusted with the responsibility of assisting in the conduct of the processions, instead displayed shocking arrogance and an utter lack of respect towards the Lady of Peñafrancia and El Divino Rostro.

Rather than embodying the spirit of cooperation and reverence that the events demand, there were voyadores witnessed engaging in disgraceful acts that defiled the very icons they were meant to honor.

One of the reprehensible incidents witnessed involved an unruly climber who shamelessly scaled the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia and exhibited disrespectful behaviour while atop the andas or pedestal.

There was also a voyador who teasingly gestured a “provocative finger” to fellow voyadores while in proximity to the image of “Ina” during the fluvial foot procession.

History bears witness to a similar event in 1992 when Our Lady of Peñafrancia’s image was almost completely undressed due to the unruly behavior of some voyadores. In 1995, there were voyadores who were figured out in a violent incident while the procession was going on.

Even the image of the Divino Rostro was not spared from these acts of desecration. An insider at the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica Minore recounted a time when its glass cover was shattered due to the rowdiness of the shameful voyadores.

These acts of desecration not only displayed an appalling lack of regard for the faithful who hold the icons in the highest esteem but also an absence of common decency and reverence for the revered.

It is a sad testament to the decline in values and morality when individuals can stoop so low as to profane what is held dear by multitudes.

The Our Lady of Peñafrancia traslacion and fluvial procession is a time-honored tradition, a manifestation of unwavering faith, and an opportunity for the devout to come together in unity. It is a sacred event that deserves the utmost respect, organization, and devotion.

Those entrusted with its coordination should be paragons of virtue, exemplifying the piety and humility that are the very essence of religious fervor.

The actions of these voyadores have not only brought shame upon themselves but have also cast a dark shadow over the entire events and the faithful who gather to participate in it.

It is disheartening that a select few individuals could tarnish the reputation of a longstanding tradition that holds such significance in the lives of countless believers.

We call upon the Archdiocese of Caceres and the City Government of Naga to take immediate and decisive action against those responsible for these wrong actions.

The perpetrators must be held accountable for their irreverent behavior and face appropriate consequences. Furthermore, measures should be implemented to ensure that such disgraceful incidents do not mar future processions.

The actions of the voyadores who displayed arrogance and disrespect during the religious events are an affront to the very essence of devotion and faith. It is high time that we recommit ourselves to upholding the values of reverence, piety, and respect that underpin our religious traditions.

Engineer William Menes, the President of Cofradia de San Jose, has noted that over the years, there has been an influx of new, younger voyadores participating in the processions. To his disappointment, some of them engage in disruptive behavior. While the leadership of Cofradia de San Jose is making efforts to provide training for its members on image protection, there are voyadores who intend to carry out objectionable actions during the processions as well.

Anything less is a disservice to the faithful, to our shared culture, and to the sacred icons that embodies the hopes and prayers of countless devotees.

The recent actions of a few rogue voyadores have cast a shadow over the sanctity of the Peñafrancia Festival. To preserve this cherished tradition for future generations, it is imperative that immediate action be taken to address the disrespectful behavior witnessed during the two religious activities.

Only through a united effort by the organizers, the community of voyadores, and the faithful can we ensure that the Peñafrancia Festival remains a symbol of faith, devotion, and respect for years to come. (JBN)


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