Cebu’s feast of Sto. Niño starts Jan. 10
CEBU CITY — All is set for the feast of the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu.
“We are now very prepared for the Fiesta Señor,” said Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA, spokesperson of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
The Fiesta Señor 2019 will officially start at 4 a.m. on January 10, with the annual “Walk with Jesus,” a penitential 2-km foot procession from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica.
This year’s fiesta Hermano and Hermana Mayores, lawyer Paul Yabao, and wife Dioscora will be installed during the liturgical celebration.
This year’s celebration carries the theme “Sto. Niño: Guide of God’s Children to Humility and Service,” which is patterned after the pastoral thrust of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on the Year of the Youth.
Except on Jan. 10 and 18 when there are dawn processions, 11 Masses will be held at the Pilgrim Center every day leading to the feast of the Sto. Niño on Jan. 20.
For the first time, the fluvial procession of the Sto. Niño de Cebu will start at the Muelle Osmeña in Lapu-Lapu City on Jan. 19.
Located just behind the National Shrine of Nuestra Señora Virgen de la Regla, the Muelle Osmeña was considered by organizers as the best location to kick off the annual sea procession of the child Jesus.
“It’s the closest seaport from the church,” said Father Reyes.
This would be the second time that the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe will drop by the Nuestra Señora de Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City shortly before the start of the fluvial procession.
The Augustinian fathers of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño earlier decided to extend the annual traslacion from Mandaue City to the adjacent island of Mactan, particularly in Lapu-Lapu City, in response to numerous requests from Oponganons who wanted to be visited by the images during the festivities.
As in previous years, the traslacion or ritual transfer of the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe will start after the 5:30 a.m. Mass on January 18, from the basilica to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City.
At 2 a.m. on Jan. 19, a send-off Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of St. Joseph. But unlike previous years, there would be no more foot procession that would bring the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Ouano Wharf.
Instead, the images would be transported in a motorcade to the Nuestra Señora de Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City for the 4 a.m. Mass.
The images would then be brought to the Muelle Osmeña for the start of the fluvial procession along the Mactan Channel.
But the images of the Sto. Niño de Cebu and the Our Lady of Guadalupe would sail down the Mactan Channel on board a new ship.
Father Reyes said the Roble Shipping Lines was chosen by the Augustinian fathers—the caretakers of the image of the child Jesus and the centuries-old church—to prepare the “galleon” replica during the fluvial procession.
In the 37-year history of the fluvial procession, the family of the late Ernesto Ouano Sr. of Mandaue City provided the yacht or galleon replica for the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In 2018, however, the Augustinian fathers of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño decided to give other ship owners a chance to ferry the sacred images in response to several requests.
The Navy was subsequently chosen to bring the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe back to Cebu City during the sea procession last year.
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