By Atty. Hazel Rojas
The feast of Sto. Niño is unique to us Filipinos. It is “only in the Philippines”. This feast is celebrated grandiosely in Cebu City, the center of the Sto. Niño Catholic celebration in the Philippines, and the rest of the country on the third Sunday of January every year. The historical significance of the image could be one of the reasons why the devotion to the Sto. Niño has permeated in every Filipino’s home. It should be remembered that Cebu is the birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines and the image of the Sto. Niño is the baptismal gift by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to the first Filipina Christian Queen Humamai of Cebu who embraced Christianity in April 1521.
The Archdiocese of Caceres and the City Government of Naga joined the celebration with the rest of the country last January 21, 2018. The celebration was a joint endeavor of the local government of Naga City and the Parish of the Immaculate Conception represented by Mayor John Bongat and Rev. Fr. Domingo Florida respectively. Participated in by some barangays in the City, the Sinulog and Ati-Atihan Competitions mirrored to some extent the culturally and religiously rich festival in Cebu City.
The said festivity culminated with a Eucharistic celebration in honor of Señor Sto. Niño presided by Rev. Fr. Rex Alarcon at the Plaza Quezon. It was attended by hundreds of devotees.
Truly, the child Jesus in the image of the Sto. Niño calls us to unity in diversity. Just as a child unites his father to his mother, Señor Sto. Niño invites us to be united despite our differences.
As we shout “Viva Sto. Niño!”, let us remember the child Jesus and the child that we used to be: pure, innocent, humble and trusting. Viva Sto. Niño!