Thousands of Marian devotees joined the Mass for the Penitential Walk with Mary procession at the open Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu at dawn on Friday, January 17, 2020, as part of the 455th Fiesta Señor celebration.
The Basilica was already jam-packed an hour before the carriage carrying the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe arrived.
Fr. Raul Cabugao officiated the Mass and reminded that Señor Santo Niño brings unity among everyone.
“Our theme (for the 455th Fiesta Señor celebration) is Santo Niño: Cause of Our Unity and Charity. The reason why there’s unity among us is because of Señor Santo Niño, who showed to us that we have one Father,” said Cabugao in Cebuano.
The miraculous image will be returned to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño at dawn on Saturday through a fluvial procession along Mactan Channel.
Thousands of Marian devotees join Walk with Mary procession
The Santo Niño de Cebú image was initially produced by Flemish artisans, according to hagiography, based on a vision of Teresa of Avila, a mystic of the 16th century.
Ferdinand Magellan gave the original image of the Señor Santo Niño to Rajah Humabon when the latter was baptized in 1521. The image is housed inside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.
The image of the Santo Niño is the oldest surviving Catholic relic in the Philippines, along with the Magellan cross. A church to house Santo Niño was built on the spot where Juan Camus found the image. The church was initially made out of bamboo and mangrove palm and claimed to be the oldest parish in the Philippines. It was reconstructed later, and Pope Paul VI elevated it to the status of Minor Basilica on its 400th anniversary.