Talisay City, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL – September 10 has always been a red-letter day for Talisaynons, it being the patronal fiesta of both this city and the matrix parish here named after St. Nicholas of Tolentine, an Augustinian saint.
This year’s solemn feast marked an enhanced version of the previous years’ celebrations. The usual 9-day pre-festival citywide activities and novena masses in the parish church were seasoned with “new ingredients,” so to speak.
On the secular side, an evening Lantern Parade, among other tourist attractions, was added in the roster of cultural shows that culminated in the colorful 19th Minulu-an Festival in the afternoon of the fiesta itself.
On the spiritual side, the theme “San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (SNDTP): Nagapanglakaton Kaupod sa mga Tawo nga Naghalad sang Kabuhi sa Dios kag sa mga Kaparian” (“San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish (SNDTP): Journeying with Consecrated Persons and the Clergy”) imbued the entire church-related program and activities for ten days. It was perfectly aligned with the Philippine Church’s “Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.”
“Our patron saint,” noted Most Rev. Patricio Buzon, bishop of Bacolod, in his homily during the solemn mass, “is both priest and religious. He is a model for all priests and religious in living a life dedicated and consecrated to God.”
“Kag isa ka pwede naton mabuhat sa sini nga kapistahan: aton ipangamuyo ang aton mga kaparian, mga relihiyoso kag relihiyosa… nga sila mangin kapareho ni San Nicolas de Tolentino nga balaan, mapisan, matutom” (“One thing we can do during this feast day is to pray for our priests, our male and female religious… that they may become like St. Nicholas of Tolentine who is holy, diligent, and dedicated”), the bishop enjoined the congregation who packed the church to the rafters.
The 10:00 AM high mass was concelebrated by close to 30 Recollect (OAR), Augustinian (OSA), and diocesan priests.
Towards the end of the mass, a spokesperson on behalf of the city mayor, Hon. Neil Lizares III, said: “Nagapasalamat kami nga because of San Nicolas de Tolentino ang aton simbahan kag ang aton gobyerno diri sa syudad sang Talisay naga-isa” (“We are grateful that because of St. Nicholas of Tolentine our church and our local government here in Talisay City unite”).
The new parish priest, Fray Niño Cesar Ruiz, OAR, despite being a neophyte in Hiligaynon, tried his best to speak in the vernacular expressing his thankfulness to everyone for a successful fiesta celebration: “Sa ngalan sang aton Parish Pastoral Council kag sa amon komunidad diri sa Talisay, damo gid nga salamat” (“In the name of our Parish Pastoral Council and our (religious) community here in Talisay, thank you very much.”)
A bit of history
Talisay, formerly a barrio of what is now Silay City, was called Minulu-an. It became a town on September 20, 1850, adapting the name Talisay, after a tree that grew in abundance in the locality. It was elevated into a city in 1998.
On September 20, 1849, Bishop Romualdo Jimeno, OP, then bishop of the archdiocese of Cebu, had declared that “se erija en nueva parroquia la visita de Minuluan, perteneciente al pueblo y parroquia de Silay” (“the barrio of Minuluan which belongs to the town and parish of Silay be erected into a new parish”).
Fray Fernando Cuenca, OAR was the first parish priest of the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish since 1850 until his death in 1902.
The actual church is already the third edifice constructed in 1936, and blest on September 9, 1939 by then papal nuncio, Msgr. Guglielmo Piani.
The matrix parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino begot two more parishes: San Pedro Bautista Parish in Brgy. Dos Hermanas and the Immaculate Conception Parish in Brgy Concepcion.
In 2013, the SNDTP was declared “ad experimentum” Diocesan Shrine of San Vicente Ferrer by Bishop-emeritus Vicente Navarra, D.D.
This year 2018, the parish patronal fiesta was already the 168th. Viva San Nicolas!