After two years, Filipino devotees were seen back on the streets as foot procession for the feast of the Santo Niño, the Roman Catholic title of the Child Jesus, was held in the Philippines and in other Filipino communities worldwide on January 15 2023.
In Cebu Philippines, more than 3 million devotees joined the solemn foot procession for Santo Niño de Cebu.
According to the Cebu City Police Office, over 3 million people joined the procession, which lasted for about three to four hours.
A fluvial procession of Señor Sto. Niño image was also held in Cebu City on January 14 as part of the 458th celebration of the feast with the theme, Sto. Niño: Our Source of Peace in the Walk of Faith.
People from all walks of life from Cebu and the different parts of the world joined the 5.7-kilometer Procession with the Image of the Santo Niño around the major streets of Cebu.
Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma presided over the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu and he was joined by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola, Bishop Oscar Cantú (Diocese of San Jose, California), Father Nelson Zerda (Rector of the Basilica), the Augustinian friars, and other visiting priests.
Devotees and parishes in other parts of the country has also celebrated the feast.
Masses and processions were also held in other parts of the Philippines such as Tondo and Pandacan in Manila where the Sto. Niño devotion is very strong.
Parishes all over the country also held procession and invited their parishioners to join with their Sto. Niño images.
STO NIÑO AROUND THE WOLRD
Filipinos around the world also celebrated the feast with their own programs.
The large Filipino community in Malta on Sunday morning celebrated the feast of Santo Niño with a procession and colourful parade which included dancing and distribution of traditional food.
Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East also celebrated the feast headed by Vicar General Troy Delos Santos, OFM Cap. Of the Apostolic Vicariate of Southern Arabia
THE STORY OF STO NIÑO
An image of the Child Jesus was given by Portuguese explorer for Spain, Ferdinand Magellan, to Hara Amihan as a baptismal gift.
Hara Amihan of Cebu (later named Queen Juana) and her husband, Rajah Humabon of Cebu, were some of the first natives to accept the Christian faith and were baptized with 800 of their people in 1521.
This image is now known as the Sto. Niño de Cebu and is the oldest Christian relic, alongside Magellan’s Cross, in the country.
Upon Magellan’s death at the Battle of Mactan, the image disappeared and was only rediscovered in 1565 by men of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi.
The image now resides in the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu—the oldest Church in the Philippines—which is said to have been built on the site where the image was found. A feast dedicated to the finding of the Child Jesus was then established on April 28, 1565.
The image of the Sto. Niño is believed to have paved way for the Christianity in the Philippines.
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