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The Jagna Feast Day of St. Michael the Archangel comes with a bang every September 29th of each coming year. Believed to be miraculous and to have helped the Jagnaanons all throughout the good and bad times of their lives, St. Michael steadily gained the love and veneration of the people.
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The Jagna Church was founded on September 29, 1631, in fact much older than the known oldest church of Baclayon which was built sometime in 1717 and completed in 1727. Only, the initial church was burned down in 1808 and the subsequent church was constructed much later. The church lost its “old” look after years of renovations, considered by some parishioners as “destructive and careless”, and a devastating earthquake in 1990.
Yet in spite of the church’s physical outlook and the harsh changes inflicted on it, it continually draws the Catholic faithful to its doors. For the Jagnaanons and visitors, it is still a sacred sanctuary and an able refuge for the soul ever searching of a loving relationship with its God.
For more than 376 years now, the Jagnaanons invoked the aid of St. Michael. He is their protector and has known to bestow countless graces upon those who have faith. It seems God looks benignly upon this angel for he never seems to fail. He intercedes for the Jagnaanons and they depend on him for almost everything – healing, job search, protection, provision, and more.
Weeks, and even months, before the feast day, Jagna is already a hive of activity. The whole municipality is involved in the preparations. Countless activities are lined-up to really make the whole fiesta week a grandiose affair. Celebrations are held not only on the feast day itself but earlier starting on the 1st day of the 9-day novena. The 9-day novena starts nine days prior to the feast day, a practice observed by all Catholic faithful on every feast day, may it be for a saint, for the Blessed Virgin, and God’s feast days.
And with the novena Masses, nightly entertainments are scheduled. For the past years, especially on the 375 Founding Anniversary last September 2006, Jagna went overboard. It was considered by most as a “once in a lifetime phenomenon”.
The Church of St. Michael itself was declared a Pilgrimage Church and the year September 29, 2006 to September 29, 2007 a Special Year of Grace by Most Reverend Christian Vicente Fernandez Noel, D.D., bishop of the Diocese of Talibon, and which Jagna is a part of. This declaration was done by the grace of Pope Benedict XVI. During the period, each visit to the church of St. Michael will earn the pilgrim a plenary indulgence while praying the Apostle’s Creed and the Hail Holy Queen for the intentions of the Holy Father.
The Christian dogma teaches that a faithful who visits a pilgrimage church must exercise penitential meditation as a way of sacrifice and self renunciation that will lead to a deeper understanding that life is a journey in search of the Highest Good. With the plenary indulgence, any pilgrim is temporarily cleansed of sin and its consequences under condition that full disposition and the necessary purification of the inner self is made.
The GloBalik-Jagna 2006 with its theme of “Duaw, Handuraw, Salmot Sa Kahiusahan” (Visit, Reminisce and Be One) took center stage. Registration of all balikbayans started on September 8 and many Jagnaanons from all over the world did register and answered the call to gather and join the festivities.
Different priests celebrated the subsequent Novena Masses sponsored by the different barangays of the town every 4:30 PM followed by night entertainments sponsored by the different sectors of the municipality. . A “The Beer Na Beer Trioke Challenge” sponsored by Asia Brewery at the Jagna Public Market Kiosk opened the nightly events followed by a dance drama presentation of the Jagna government offices portraying Jagna in different times.
The Dep-Ed personnel of Jagna had a night of their own; showing off their talents and skills in a cultural presentation. Other nights witnessed guest performers such as the Dimiao Children’s Rondalla back to back with the Alicia Musika Kawayan, the Diwanag Dance Troupe of HNU-Tagbilaran City, a DU EK SAM sponsored presentation entitled “Teban and Goliat Show”, and an Akbayan presentation. LGU-Jagna with Informatics had a night set aside solely for the launching of the Jagna Commemorative Book “Dungog Kaliwat Jagnaanon”.
One of the evening highlights that drew in the crowd was the Coronation Rites of Jagna GloBalik Queen 2006 and the Clergy Concert plus Ballroom Dancing with all the Balikbayans. At daytime, tennis tournaments were held, and the 3-day Jagna Agri-Food & Crafts Fair was launched.
A reunion of Jagnaanon priests, religious and sisters formerly assigned in the church took place on the 27th. To make their reunion more meaningful, a whole-day sports fest was held among them. They were there to join the Novena/Vesper Mass and the procession of the Image of St. Michael the following day as well on the feast day itself. The church overflowed and the streets were flooded with the faithful during the procession.
The feast day was opened with a Diana wherein the Jagna Band toured the streets of Jagna playing lively music to wake-up the parishioners. The first Mass was held at 6 AM followed by the “Sakay-Sakay” or the fluvial procession of St. Michael. The Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo Cardinal J. Vidal, D.D. officiated in the Pontifical Mass at 10 AM together with Boholano bishops and clergies from the dioceses of Talibon and Tagbilaran, and other visiting priests outside Bohol and even from abroad.
Immediately after the Mass, a parade/Sinu-og Estokada and a fireworks display ensued. Here the youth of the municipality, especially headed by the Parish Youth Ministry (PYM) took charge of these affairs. To add flavour to the day, a boxing tournament took place and finally, the whole fiesta affair ended with a disco at the Jagna Gym. This affair was sponsored by the LGU-Jagna, Tadena Commercial with SMB.
Really, the 2006 fiesta celebration is worth mentioning. It was a one in a lifetime affair, the 1st grandiose affair ever witnessed in the history of Jagna and of the church, even in the whole island of Bohol. The whole town took on a festive look with all the buntings, banners and decorations.
Many Jagnaanons, local and from abroad, took part in the preparations and joined the celebrations. Food and drinks flowed. In their great love for the saint, nothing was considered too big in order to honor him who is God’s highest messenger – the “Prince of the Heavenly Host”.
The following year, 2007, witnessed a simpler celebration, yet still participated in by all Jagnaanons with great ardour. Basic activities were observed such as the Novena Masses, the Vesper procession, the Pontifical Mass, the fluvial parade, the Sinu-og and the nightly entertainments. Since the “Special Year of Grace” ended on September 29, 2007, still the pilgrimage to the church continues. Whatever be the declaration, the faithful knows that the bestowing of God’s graces through the intercession of St. Michael never cease.
Bohol Sunday Post September 2, 2006