Feast of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist

Published June 24, 2021, 9:36 AM

by Christina Hermoso

Roman Catholics celebrate Thursday, June 24, the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist (San Juan de Bautista), one of only two saints, the other one being the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose birth anniversary is commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church.

St. John the Baptist (Catholic.org image)

Holy Masses will be celebrated from 5 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., and at 12 noon, 5:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m., and at 8:30 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Parish (Pinaglabanan Church) in San Juan City in commemoration of the feast day of its patron saint.

Before the pandemic, the feast was marked with the traditional dousing of water along the streets of San Juan, reminiscent of the baptism performed by St. John at the Jordan River. San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora has since cancelled the tradition to avoid crowding in the streets. The image of St. John the Baptist will instead be brought to key areas in the city along with the blessing of the houses along its route.

A commemorative mass will also be celebrated at the St. John the Baptist Parish (Quiapo Church) in Manila and at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, Manila where Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula will celebrate his first mass as the 33rd archbishop of the archdiocese following his installation today.

Other festive rites that were held pre-pandemic in other parts of the country include the “Parada ng Lechon” in Balayan, Batangas and the “Taong Putik” Festival in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija. Popularly known among the locals as “pagsa-San Juan,” participants in the parade traditionally covered themselves with mud and adorn their bodies with vines and leaves as inspired by St. John’s attire during his time.

Celebrated since the year 506, making it one of the oldest feasts in the Church calendar, St. John’s other feast day is on Aug. 29, which is the Feast of his Beheading.