By Troy Torres
Archbishop Michael Byrnes has approved a plan for the Archdiocese to motorcade the statute of the Blessed Mother and the patroness of the island - Santa Marian Kamalen - around Guam on December 8. The new protocol, meant to adapt to the COVID-19 situation, will replace the centuries-old annual procession tradition.
The last time the procession did not happen - December 8, 2002 - the island was devastated by Super Typhoon Pongsona. Many Catholic faithful blamed the calamity on a law by then-Sen. Eddie Calvo that removed the December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion from the list of official GovGuam holidays. The Legislature immediately restored the holiday after the destruction of December 8, 2002.
"To avoid creating traffic congestions that would impact regular motorists, the faithful are strongly asked NOT to organize motorcades that attempt to follow the statue as this may pose safety issues for parishioners while approaching large crowds," a release from the Archdiocese of Agana warns.
"The statue will travel from one village to another," the release reads. "It will slowly travel past each Catholic church but will not stop. Logistical details such as specific times and routes will be announced in the days to come."
Kandit will be closely monitoring the Joint Typhoon Warning Center and the National Weather Service in the days leading up to December 8, 2020.