The Order of St. Augustine Province of Santo Niño de Cebu – Philippines successfully launched the “Santo Niño at 500: Santo Niño, the abiding presence of the Father in our journey of faith.”
On November 13, 2019, a historical conference opened the Grand Launching of the Santo Niño at 500 at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu (BMSN).
Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA in his welcoming remarks expressed that as the Filipino population grew, our faith also grew.
“The small seed of faith has grown,” he said.
Looking back, it is indeed true that our religious devotion is inspired and positioned in the image of the Sto. Niño.
Now, it is time to remember the beginnings of our Catholic faith and to compel ourselves to understand the living spirit and our devotion to the Sto. Niño in a deeper aspect.
The historical conference was led by Rev. Fr. Arnel Dizon, OSA who discussed a well-researched presentation titled “In place of idols: A journey of faith with the Sto. Niño (1521-2021)”.
He broke down his speech into four segments: Context Setting, Traces and Pathways to Cebu, Cultural and Historical Processes, and Implications of 2021 Quincentennial Celebrations.
To conclude, the panel of reactors gave their insights and comments, particularly: Rev. Fr. Emilio Edgardo A. Quilatan, OAR; Rev. Fr. Brian Brigoli; media practitioner Oscar Rodolfo Pineda and; historian Jobers Reynes Bersales.
Presided by the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, His Excellency Most Rev. Gabriele G. Caccia, D.D., the much-awaited concelebrated mass gathered hundreds of devoted mass-goers for the Grand Launching of the Santo Niño at 500 celebration.
“God wants to take the best of our nature out without fear but with joy because the definition of God is love,” he proclaimed.
He urged the people to talk to God and entrust their lives to God like a child would to his parents with confidence.
“Our attitude should be always like the attitude of a child… Childlike but not childish,” the Papal Nuncio of the Philippines pronounced.
Childlike is to be simple, humble, trustworthy, and kind; childish is to be immature and impatient.
We must remain childlike in our lives and grow in faith as adults, like the child Jesus who finished on a cross for our salvation when he became man.
Because when a child grows in spirit to become a man, this means one can reap and offer the fruits of forgiveness, understanding, and faith.
This means one is ready to do their part in the Lord’s mission.
As we participate in God’s mission, “Let us ask to remain childlike in our life, let us ask to be able to be adults in faith.”
The evening concert was opened by the San Diego Dance Company with a spectacular dance and act that exhibits the historic origin of Christianity and the arrival of the Holy Child Sto. Niño in Cebu.
Basilica church was filled with grandeur as the chorale show started.
The classical voices who came all the way from Iloilo City, University of San Agustin (USA) Choir and Troubadours hymned harmonically local and classical songs.
The awarding of the winner for 500 years logo making contest followed shortly.
Ramesh Rosillo, editorial cartoonist of the Freeman publication grabbed the recognition.
Rosillo’s entry is the official logo for the entire celebration of the 500th year of the arrival of the image of Sto. Niño.
Along with the interpretation of the significance of the logo, was the unveiling of the official website for Santo Niño at 500 and the programs and activities of the Augustinian Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu- Philippines in preparation for the year 2021.
The event was wrapped up by the BMSN Rector, Rev. Fr. Pacifico C. Nohara., OSA with his closing remarks and word of thanks.
“Let us together look back to the past, let us together celebrate our faith, and together let us look forward to the future with a grateful and a dedicated heart,” said Fr. Nohara. /Lara Eviota, Melissa Arbuis and Sheila Marie Canillo – BMSN Media Centre volunteers