“More fun! Karakol is more fun in the Good Shepherd!” Ate Cristy San Gabriel, a lector in the Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd (CSPGS), said as she giggled and danced her way through the street, accompanied by the members of all the ministries and organizations of CSPGS.
Karakol, a devotional street-dancing procession accompanied by lively music, is a tradition in the province of Cavite. Rev. Fr. Mario Sanchez, a native of Cavite, has integrated Karakol in the fiesta activities of the Cathedral since assuming the position as parish priest of CSPGS in 2013.
Asked why he decided to incorporate Karakol into the fiesta activities of CSPGS, Fr. Mario responded, “This is to praise God…. In jubilation, in dances and laughter that comes from the heart of the people, we are celebrating the pastorship of the Good Shepherd…So, we praise God for this gift of unity and oneness, that comes from God, Himself, the Good Shepherd…(Karakol) is a wonderful way of gathering the family of Christ.”
Vibrantly dancing on top of a moving, open vehicle, in his immaculately, white chausable with an image of the Good Shepherd embedded on the stole around his neck and the statue of the Good Shepherd on his hand, Rev. Fr. Mario Sanchez bore the scorching heat of the sun, all the while sprinkling holy water along the streets of Fairview. He was followed by approximately 700 parishioners, in their Filipiniana and floral outfits, waving their native hats or abanikos (fans) on the air, as they sway their hips and move to the rythmn of the Karakol music.
Dressed in a beautiful red Filipiniana gown, Maria Elena Cabral, Vice-President of Internal Affairs of the Divine Mercy Ministry, expressed her sentiments during the street dance, “I feel awed by the show of love for the Good Shepherd.”
In their floor length floral outfits, both Rachel Calinap, Prioress of the Lay Ministry of the Word, and Au Pamintuan, Treasurer of the same ministry, articulated what they felt while dancing in what-felt like more than a hundred degree Celsius temperature. Ate Rachel said that this experience made her feel “blessed, at the same time, fulfilled”. While Ate Au energetically quipped, “Well, I am so happy! Very, very beautiful!”
Such festive and jubilant atmosphere was evident last April 17 at CSPGS, as it celebrated its fiesta with a Bayanihan outlook starting with a lugaw-at-Itlog breakfast at 6 o’clock in the morning, followed by Karakol, High Mass and the salu-salo.
Bro Dinky Nievera, former president of Ministerium Altaris Servorum and a masteral student in Liturgy, explained that the feast of the Good Shepherd is celebrated every fourth Sunday of Easter, otherwise known as the Good Shepherd Sunday.
The High Mass that followed was celebrated by His Excellency, Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, Bishop of Novaliches, and concelebrated with Rev. Fr. Mario Sanchez and Rev. Fr. Amir Zaragoza. The salu-salo was participated by the parishioners of CSPGS, with the ministries and organizations bringing in their food to share.
The fiesta activities of CSPGS was spearheaded by Family and Life Ministry through head couple coordinator Joji and Nikki Dael. Asked for comments from planning to the actual fiesta activities, Ate Nikki said, “Although mahirap ang preparation, maraming coordination, pero nakikita namin yung galaw ng Panginoon na successful pa rin yung celebration. May miracles kaming nakikita na gumagalaw (Ang Holy Spirit) para matagumpay ang celebration na ito.”
Maddie Laconico, Secretary of Corinthian Youth Movement and host of the salu-salo celebration, affirmed the joyful camaraderie of the parishioners, as she observed that their program only had 3 original group performers. However, the parishioners kept on coming to her, asking if they could also perform onstage. Maddie said she felt overwhelmed, “Feeling ko po ang nararamdaman ng lahat ng andito ay sobrang saya to be a part of the Good Shepherd community…Tapos po kahit po nagkakamali sila (sa kanilang performance), parang wala lang po. Ang saya lang po nila, kasi feeling po nila, it’s all for the Good Shepherd.” (~Dr. Jyn Aragon)