Sto. Niño visits in Biliran, Leyte focus on environment | Inquirer News
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Sto. Niño visits in Biliran, Leyte focus on environment

/ 08:48 PM November 25, 2011

Marine Cpl. Michael Cedeño didn’t pass the chance to serve as an honor guard during the visit of the image of the Sto. Niño to the provinces of Biliran and Leyte last month.

He wanted to express his gratitude to the Holy Child Jesus for giving him a second life after he was hit by shrapnel when a land mine exploded in Jolo in 2000. He recalled that he had with him then the rosary that his mother gave him.

Cedeño, 32, was among the eight sailors and marines who were detailed as honor guards when the Sto. Niño image was brought to Naval town in Biliran and Calubian town in Leyte on Oct. 21-22. The “Duaw sa Sto. Niño” was part of the opening salvo of the upcoming celebration for the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the country in 2021.


This was the third time that the image—most venerated for being the oldest Christian relic in the country—was brought outside its home at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu City. The first was in Bohol in 2009 and on Olango Island in Cebu in 2010.


The visits were meant to bring the Sto. Niño closer to the people, as well as to call on the faithful to take care of the environment.

“The goal is always ongoing. That’s the reason the Sto. Nino is getting out of the basilica to reiterate and emphasize of our constant, daily role of taking care the creation which He has gifted us,” said Fr. Tito Soquiño, head of the basilica’s Augustinian social development program.

A send-off Mass was held at the Basilica Minore about 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, followed by a short procession to the Navy ship that was docked at the pier of the Malacañang sa Sugbo (Office of the President in the South). The vessel arrived in Naval at about 7 a.m.

The Sto. Niño image was brought to the Naval Cathedral for Mass and to the gymnasium of the Naval State University where at least 6,000 devotees came to listen to  Soquiño lecture about protecting the environment before lining up to kiss the image.

At 3 p.m., the image sailed for 30 minutes to Calubian. At the pier, it was placed inside a glass case that was loaded onto an Isuzu Elf truck adorned with flowers for a motorcade through 5 kilometers of rough road. The 30 vehicles traveling on the convoy brought the image to St. Therese of the Child Jesus Shrine.

At least 4,000 people paid homage at the shrine. At 6 a.m. the next day, the image was brought to the pier for the trip back home.


For Soquiño, it was mission accomplished. “It was generally successful. As we are celebrating the World Mission Day, I would say the mission is accomplished in proclaiming the Sto. Niño as the Lord Admiral of the Sea and to reiterate his call for the protection of the environment that we are called to be stewards of creation,” he said.

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TAGS: Biliran, environment, Leyte, Sto. Niño

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