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The town of Boljoon in Southern Cebu will celebrate its 421st fiesta on November 13-14, 2020. To highlight this annual religious feast of the Boljoanons will be the Episcopal coronation of the 400-year old miraculous image of their patroness, Patrocinio de Maria Santisima.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Most Rev. Midyphil B. Billones, DD will officiate the coronation on November 14, 2020 at 10:00 o’clock in the morning inside Boljoon Church. Bishop Billones will be assisted by Rev. Fr. Andres Rivera, Jr, OSA, Prior Provincial of the Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu, Philippines.To allow devotees and residents who cannot personally witness and cannot be accommodated inside the church due to limited capacity, it will be live-streamed via the parish Facebook page, Patrocinio de Maria Parish.

According to Msgr. Arthur Navales, the parish priest “as we celebrate the 421st Annual Fiesta in honor of our Patroness, Patrocinio de Maria Santisima and as we prepare for the 500th year celebration of Christianity in the Philippines, the people of Boljoon are looking back in gratitude for the many blessings bestowed by God through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Msgr. Navales further explained that “amidst the health and economic crises, we are truly grateful to the Almighty Father for giving us Mary, our Patrocinio de Maria. She has been our strength and refuge. Her miraculous image, which is venerated for more than four centuries, has been the beacon of faith and hope by the Boljoanons in particular and the Cebuanos in general.”

Part of the religious celebration will be the Marian Exhibit to be opened on November 5, 2020 at 4:30 in the afternoon at Escuela Catolica Building beside the parish church. Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu Most Rev. Midyphil Billones, DD will lead the opening ceremonies and will preside the second day Novena Mass.

Monsignor Navales commissioned the Patronage of Mary Development School (PMDS) in Boljoon to organize the Marian exhibit and to lead the Marian Catechesis as part of this year’s fiesta celebration. Themed “Gazing at Mary in the year of Ecumenism and Religious Dialogue, the Marian Exhibit will feature 30 venerated images based on the role of Mary in the salvation of mankind, Marian devotions and titles and Marian dogmas. The exhibit will be seen from November 5 to November 16, 2020 at 9am-4pm.

Msgr. Navales reminded the devotees and churchgoers of the limited church capacity and the strict observance of health protocols in all church activities.

The local government of Boljoon, on the other hand, will lead in the mobile procession on November 4 and on November 14 within the Poblacion and coastal barangays of the town.

On October 8, 2020, the municipal government of Boljoon, through the Office of the Mayor issued Executive Order No. 27, Series of 2020, an order establishing protocols and guidelines in the observance of the upcoming 421st Boljoon Town Fiesta. Based section 3 of the said order “A 5-day policy of limited movement of persons shall be observed in the municipality from 12:01am of November 11, 2020 (Wednesday) until 12:01am of November 15, 2020 (Sunday). Non-residents of Boljoon and non-Boljoanons are not allowed to enter into the town during the 5-day restrictions. A Penalty of P5,000 will be imposed per visitor, for households within the municipality who will accept and receive non-Boljoanon visitors on November 11-15, 2020.

The office of the Mayor in Boljoon reminded that the minimum mandatory safety or public health standards are required to be observed by all persons within the Municipality at all times as per latest approved and mandated by the IATF-MEID and the Cebu Provincial Government.            

Boljoon is one of the coastal towns in Southeastern of Cebu Province. It is known for its pristine beaches and natural and historical spots. It is 103 kilometers away from Cebu City. Its Catholic Church, also known as Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church, was founded by the Augustinian Friars in 1599. The church building and convent are parts of a sprawling complex surrounded by thick coral stone walls. It was a fortress church with a block house, which served as a watch tower, a 200-year old cemetery and a school (Escuela Catolica) built in 1940s. The church of Boljoon is the oldest remaining coral stone church in Cebu. In 1999, it was declared as a National Historical Landmark. The Philippine National Museum also declared it as National Cultural Treasure in 2000 (Contributed by PMDS Mass Media Office).

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