Santo Niño feast draws millions to Cebu
by FFE PH News Staff
Cebu officials reported that Sunday’s Santo Niño (Infant Jesus) festival in Cebu drew more people this year.
According to estimates, around 3.2 million devotees carrying their own Santo Niño icons participated in the 5.7 kilometre procession around the city. Last year’s procession only drew 2.7m.
Cebu City Police Office director senior superintendent Noli Romana said that the four-hour procession was ‘generally peaceful.’
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma led the morning mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño. His homily was centred on the strength of Fililpinos in the face of adversity, which was in line with the festival’s 2014 theme: Senyor Santo Niño: Hope of the People.
He said ‘As we celebrate this special fiesta celebration, we are here gathered to thank and praise God for giving us beautiful weather despite forecasts of a rainy weekend.’
Last October, Cebu was affected by the 7.2-magnituted earthquake that struck Bohol that left many churches damaged, including the Basilica’s belfry.
The archbishop said ‘these (calamities) should strengthen our faith and hope in the Lord. We are gathered (here) not to complain but instead we are here to shout “Senyor Santo Niño, You are the hope of the people.” We are people of hope as we wait for good things to come.’
The feast of the Child Jesus is also a celebration of children. The archbishop said ‘As we expect good things from the Lord, let us allow the little ones to grow in the grace of the God.’
He also reminded the devotees that ‘in the eyes of God we are all his children and are part of one family, which is why we need each other,’ and ended his sermon with a hearty ‘Viva Pit Senyor!’