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Religious parade is colourful occasion

An Asian religious tradition has taken place in Bognor Regis for the second time.


A touch of colour was brought to bank holiday weekend when some of the town’s Filipino residents staged a religious parade.


The Santacruzen procession is a major occasion in their homeland during May.


They kept the tradition alive in their parade from Hotham Park along High Street to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.


Saturday’s event saw about 60 Filipinos of all ages dressed immaculately take part in the occasion. It was the second time they had staged the event.


Janeth Reyers, chairman of the Bogor Regis Filipino British Community, said: “As a mainly Catholic country, Santacruzen is an important occasion in the Philippines.


“We want to carry on the tradition and we try to keep it going for our children.


“We were very proud and pleased that quite a lot of people watched our parade last year. We are happy to do it again.”


Last Saturday’s celebration was led by Father Ronan Ayag, who is a clergyman in Southwark in south London.


He conducted a mass in Our Lady of Sorrows after the parade as one of his monthly services there for the Bognor Regis community.


“This event comes from a Spanish tradition of a devotion to Our Lady Fatima,” he said.


“During the procession, we will be reciting the rosary.


“The nearest event like this, that I know about, is in Southampton.


“I am linked to 12 Filipino communities, mostly around London, like Kingston-upon-Thames and Roehampton. They are increasing, especially as Filipino nurses come to this country.”


The Filipino community in Bognor Regis was created in 2013 after their home country was devastated by a typhoon and a mass was held for the victims.


Santacruzen depicts the finding of the cross of Jesus by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the powerful emperor who ended the persecution of Christians.


Three of the adults in the parade each held a cross, a rosary and a Bible. Eight children were angels. They carried a letter each to spell ‘Ave Maria’.


Signs celebrating three queens were carried by some of those who took part.

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