Zambo City celebrates Fiesta Pilar amid crisis PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 October 2013 15:06

Unfazed by threats from lawless elements, thousands of Zamboangueños are expected to join in the grand procession and the subsequent Pontifical Mass at the Fort Pilar Shrine today, October 12 highlighting Fiesta Pilar.

The grand procession is set to start at 2:30pm at the Metropolitan Cathedral in La Purisima Street and will culminate at the Fort Pilar Shrine where the Pontifical Mass is expected to commence at 4pm.

City officials, led by Mayor Beng Climaco and District I Cong. Celso Lobregat are expected to lead the devotees in marching the streets   in prayers this afternoon.

Located in the so-called area of conflict, the Fort Pilar Shrine was one of the facilities that have been prohibited due to possible security risks.

The religious activities today will kick off at 4:30am for the mañanita mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in La Purisima St. It will be followed by four other masses at 6am, 8am, 10am and 12:15.

Unlike in previous years, this year’s fiesta pilar celebration is a toned down event in view of the 23-day conflict that started September 9 and the succeeding natural calamity due to widespread flashfloods.

Sans the social events, the celebration this year is focused on religious activities which started October 3 with the novena mass held at the Centro Pastoral. The Fort Pilar was opened for private devotions effective October 5, a day after the shrine was cleared and turned over to the management along with 12 other agencies and establishments.

Resiliency, determination and most importantly, faith and devotion to the Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar, the city’s patron saint are innate characteristics of Zamboangueños who have gone through a lot the past days.

“I urge our people to continue reverence to the La Virgen del Pilar to always lead us to Jesus. Our steadfast devotion to the Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar all through the years has been our beacon of hope amidst the trials and adversities. No matter how intricate and complicated the challenges are—we, the good, will always prevail”, Mayor Climaco stressed.

She said despite the fierce gunfight last month, the Fort Pilar Shrine, the 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government emerged unscathed after the crisis. “Tomorrow the shrine will be opened to be the convergence point of the grand procession and subsequent Pontifical Mass where we expect hordes of devotees with diverse cultures to pay their homage to the Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar.”

Today is a non-working holiday in the city by virtue of Republic Act 7350. — Sheila Covarrubias