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This year’s Penafrancia festivities will be ‘modified.’

MANILA, Philippines – The Archdiocese of Caceres has decided to resurrect the feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia in September.

The annual feast in Caceres will be altered because of the threat of coronavirus illness 2019 (Covid-19), according to Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona.

“While the nature and character of the festivals will be preserved, there will be changes to the conduct of the processions to protect the well-being of devotees, pilgrims, and the general public,” Tirona wrote in a circular dated June 8 and made public Thursday.

During the Traslacion, these changes include the hanging of images of Our Lady of Penafrancia and Divino Rostro in automobiles.

During the fluvial parade, he continued, just a small number of devotees will be allowed on the image’s pagoda.

“At all times, kissing and caressing the photos will be prohibited,” Tirona stated.

As the archdiocese prepares for the Divino Rostro from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9 and Our Lady of Penafrancia from Sept. 8 to 10, more information about the activities will be given in the following weeks.

“We anticipate a serious and meaningful celebration, mindful of the need to adhere to basic health protocols,” the Archbishop of Caceres remarked.

The theme for this year’s event is “Mary accompanies us on our journey toward a synodal Church.”

It is the 312th year of Our Lady of Penafrancia devotion and the 140th year of devotion to the Divino Rostro.

“May the feast of the Divino Rostro and Ina open our hearts and brains to the Holy Spirit so that we can imitate Mary in our journey to the Father,” he said.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Naga City has canceled the traditional Penafrancia fiesta for the previous two years.

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