Following strict restrictions due to Covid-19, the Catholic faithful celebrated the 500th Feast of the Santo Niño on 17 January without the traditional procession, chants, dancing and street festivities.
But despite the absence of the crowd gathered at the Pilgrim Center of Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City, this did not prevent devotees from altogether celebrating the feast.
In Metro Manila, parishes that also celebrate annually the feast of the Child Jesus could not stop devotees from gathering to mark the special day of the One they truly trust.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said there is no reason to fear during this trying time brought by the pandemic.
“Perhaps, because of Covid you might say ‘it’s difficult.’ Whatever it may be, come to the Niño for he will bring us to the Father. The Niño tells us to have faith rather than fear. He is small but powerful,” Palma said during the homily.
“Many times, we only have fear, but today, the Niño tells us: ‘Have faith rather than fear. Put your trust in this little child — small but powerful. Batobalani sa Gugma,” he added.
The Feast of Santo Niño is celebrated on the third Sunday of January and is usually attended by millions of devotees from all over the world.
The image of the Santo Niño de Cebu is an icon of Christ as a child and is regarded to have performed miracles. Gifted by Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Humabon and his consort Hara Humamay when he arrived in 1521, the image symbolizes the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.