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EDITORIAL: Wanted: Reverence, Devotion to ‘Ina’

The recent events during the Traslacion procession on Friday, September 8, have left a somber mark on an otherwise cherished tradition.

The disorderly and rowdy behavior exhibited by some voyadores is a stain on the reverence and sanctity that should surround such an event.

The tearing of the vest of Our Lady of Peñafrancia’s image is not just an unfortunate incident; it is a wake-up call for the Catholic Church and the community as a whole.

The Traslacion procession, a centuries-old tradition in the Philippines, is a solemn expression of faith and devotion. It is a time when believers come together to pay their respects to the Lady of Peñafrancia, seeking blessings and guidance.

However, the recent incident has cast a shadow on the faithful’s intentions.

What is most distressing is that the voyadores, who are entrusted with the duty of carrying the image of the Lady, were the very individuals responsible for the damage.

Their behavior, far from reflecting their role as protectors of the image, demonstrated disrespect and negligence. It is a deeply troubling paradox when those meant to safeguard the sanctity of the image instead engage in acts that tarnish its dignity.

This incident is not isolated; 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.

It appears that lessons from the past have not been heeded, and this recurring disrespect calls for immediate action.

The Catholic Church must take a firm stance against such acts of disrespect during religious processions. It is high time to adopt certain approaches to ensure the sanctity of these events is preserved for future generations. Here are some possible steps that can be taken:

1. Education and Training: Voyadores should undergo comprehensive training programs that emphasize the importance of their role in preserving the sanctity of the image. They must understand the significance of their duties and the need for utmost respect and reverence.

2. Code of Conduct: The Catholic Church can establish a strict code of conduct for all participants in religious processions. This code should include guidelines on behavior, attire, and penalties for those who violate the code.

3. Security Measures: Adequate security measures should be put in place to prevent unruly behavior. Law enforcement agencies can work in collaboration with church authorities to ensure the safety and dignity of the event.

4. Community Involvement: Engaging the local community can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility. Encouraging the faithful to report any misconduct during processions will help maintain order.

5. Cultural Awareness: It is crucial to impart cultural and historical knowledge about these processions to the younger generation. This can help instill a sense of pride and responsibility in preserving their traditions.

In conclusion, the recent incident during the Traslacion procession serves as a stark reminder that the sanctity of religious events must be upheld. The Catholic Church, in collaboration with the community, must take proactive measures to prevent such disrespect from recurring. It is essential to ensure that future generations can continue to participate in these traditions with the utmost reverence and devotion. JBN

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