The 1049th Feast of Saint Blaise has begun! Although we welcomed this year’s celebration in somewhat different conditions, we are able to continue the millennial tradition of celebrating the patron saint of the City and Day of the City of Dubrovnik by diligently obeying all epidemiological measures, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.
Many fellow citizens gathered today in front of Saint Blaise church to participate in the opening of the Feast with flag bearers, festanjuls and priests. All those who could not be on Stradun, had the opportunity to follow the opening of the Feast from their homes via Internet at www.festa2021.hr and television. The opening was preceded by the City Music parade along Stradun with flag bearers greeting Saint Blaise’s church.
“While you who follow the opening via internet and television lack the physical presence and togetherness of those gathered, we all can feel a strong spiritual connection and communion with each other and a with our dear saint,” said the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dubrovnik and Archbishop of Rijeka Coadjutor Msgr. Mate Uzinić, pointing out the heart-warming devotion and hope directed to out patron saint even in these difficult times.
He also touched on the powerful reliquary of the Dubrovnik Cathedral that will mark the 300th anniversary of tomorrow’s Feast, emphasizing the exceptional relics of our patron Saint that hold an immeasurable spiritual treasure to all the people of Dubrovnik.
250 people are allowed to participate in tomorrow’s central Eucharistic celebration and procession, in accordance with the decision of the National civil protection headquarters. A total of 90 flag bearers, representatives of parishes and fraternities will participate in the Mass and procession, accompanied by members of the fraternities of Festanjul and the Blessed Sacrament, and the closest representatives of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. The area from the Cathedral to Sponza will be fenced and you will only be able to enter with accreditation.
The Rector of the Church of Staint Blaise don Hrvoje Katušić closed the first day of the Feast by reading congratulations and greetings for the Feast to our sailors, but also all those who celebrate our most important holiday outside the City. Gifts were brought for blessing while the white doves were released, and at the end of the ceremony the flag bearers raised the flag next to the church with the sounds of the Hymn of Saint Blaise.
We are aware that this year’s Feast cannot be celebrated in all its glory, but let us strive, nevertheless, “with our flag fluttering in the wind and the solemn sound of bells” together, wherever we may be, to lift our hearts and never-ending hope to our holy patron Saint Blaise.
Photo: Zvonimir Pandža