‘Urge flock to finish nine-day novena’

AS the Misa de Gallo started yesterday, a church official asked priests to look for ways to motivate their parishioners to complete the nine-day dawn masses.
In his homily to thousands of parishioners of the National Shrine of the Lady of the Rule in Lapu-Lapu City, Msgr. Achilles Dakay also urged churchgoers to do their part.

Dakay, also archdiocesan media liaison officer, said in an interview that while it is common for some people not to complete the novena, priests must take the challenge of motivating the churchgoers to attend the entire series.

“I am urging priests to not put in their parishioners’ minds (that) Misa de Gallo (is an obligation), but to also help keep the churches full during the entire nine-day dawn masses,” said Dakay.

Dakay said in his homily that completing the dawn masses is not only a preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but will also make churchgoers aware that the message of the Misa de Gallo should prevail.

“I want them to take the message of the mass home until the end of the day so they would like to hear another dawn mass until the end of the Misa de Gallo,” said Dakay.
Dakay also mentioned in his homily the value of giving without expecting anything in exchange, as this is one of the lessons of Christmas.

“Ang pagkakaibigan ay ang pagbibigayan na walang kapalit,” quoted Dakay.
Dakay, whom Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asked to take his place in celebrating the dawn masses in Archdiocesan shrines in Cebu, celebrated the first mass at the National Shrine of the Lady of the Rule in Lapu-Lapu City at 4 a.m. yesterday.

Cardinal Vidal had begged to off due to complications attributed to old age. The cardinal, however, will celebrate the Dec. 24 mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
More than 5,000 people attended the mass, with the crowd spilling out into the streets.
Police said there were no crimes during the Misa de Gallo that were reported yesterday.
Police Regional Office 7 Director Lani-o Nerez said that from 4 to 6 a.m., police offices in Central Visayas did not receive any alarm that happened near churches.

Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador Jr., in a separate interview, said the police achieved its target of a “zero crime rate” during the duration of the mass.
Operatives from the Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) and teams from the 11 police stations were ordered to stay on their toes and regularly conduct patrols to check on burglars who may take the opportunity to break into houses.

After the mass, Dakay and the priests of the national shrine distributed bundles of joy to the less fortunate.
In Cebu City, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral was packed as well.
Msgr. Roberto Alesna, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral parish priest, mentioned in his homily the current thrust of the Archdiocese in yesterday’s first dawn mass.
(Suns Star)

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