Santo Nino Fiesta honors Infant Jesus and beginning of Christianity in the Philippines

By Mary Powers

On Jan. 14, the Filipino Ministry hosted the annual Santo Niño Fiesta honoring the infant Jesus and the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines. The celebration included Mass celebrated by Father Eduardo Dura, parochial vicar at St. Augustine Church in South San Francisco, and concelebrated by priests from across the Archdiocese. The event also included a luncheon where the Santo Niño statue was processed in and honored with dancing and music.

While there are many Santo Niño celebrations and statues from around the world, the event at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption was in honor of Santo Niño de Cebu, given to the King and Queen of the Philippines by Ferdinand Magellan on the island of Cebu upon their baptism, marking the beginning Christianity in the Philippines.

 “The devotion [to Santo Niño] encourages us to be childlike to reclaim the inner child within us,” said Father Dura during the homily. “The child possesses so many endearing qualities like trust, forgiveness, simplicity, transparency and dependence. Adults have lost the sense of being childlike, and so we need to reclaim that child-likeness within us.”

The celebration included more than one-hundred members of the Filipino and Archdiocesan community. The love of Christ was expressed through joyful song, dancing and prayer. Many brought their own statues of Santo Niño to be blessed by the priests at the end of Mass.

The statue used for the event has been in the Archdiocese for more than 50 years and today resides at St. Monica Catholic Church.

 “As the Filipino community celebrates the birth of Christianity in the Philippine’s at Santo Nino, we hope that the manifestation of the love of Christ emanates outward to others within the Catholic Church,” said Edgar Estonina, director of Filipino ministry for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Photos: Mary Powers, Archdiocese of San Francisco