Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feast of the Holy Child Jesus in the Philippines

The devotion to the Holy Child Jesus is the oldest and one of the most popular in the Philippines, so popular that the Holy See has granted us special permission to celebrate the feast of the Señor Sto. Niño on the third Sunday of January and the whole month of January is dedicated in His honor with various festivities.

The country’s oldest and most precious Catholic image, the Sto. Nino de Cebu is the most popular symbol of Christianity in the Philippines. In history, Ferdinand Magellan gave the image as a baptismal gift to Hara Amiha, wife of Cebu’s Rajah Humabon, who was later christened as Reina Juana. At that time, not only the rulers were baptized but also 800 of their subjects. Thus, the Philippine Islands have been evangelized through the image of the Holy Child.

The feast brings to our attention the mystery of childhood. In the Gospel, Jesus declares that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven we must become like children. This means having the open and trusting disposition to accept the Lord’s gifts with gratitude and without reservation, while seeing ourselves as humble stewards who serve the Lord on the least of our brothers and sisters.

Thus, the Congregacion Del Santisimo Nombre Del Niño Jesus, honoring the Child Jesus through His Most Holy Name and honoring His most Sacred image under the title “El Nombre” celebrates annually His feast at the last Sunday of January with novena Masses and exhibit as prelude to that day, which we now observe at the Philippine National Bank Hall, D. Macapagal Ave., Pasay City.

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