01/14/2018 - VENERABLE FATHERS, I BRING YOU MY DEAREST POSSESSION.

“VENERABLE FATHERS, I BRING YOU MY DEAREST POSSESSION.

HONOR THIS IMAGE AND YOU SHALL NEVER WANT.”  ~ Princess Polyxena

Our Lord so desires to be loved in return by us! In the 1500’s He appeared as a little child to St. Teresa of Avila. To see how much Jesus, Son of God, humbled Himself to take our flesh, be born of the Virgin Mary, and be a little child inflamed the heart of St. Teresa with much love and devotion. St. Teresa of Avila then spread devotion to this holy image of Jesus as child, which gave rise both to the Holy Infant of Prague and the Santo Niño de Cebu in the Philippines. Our Lord has consistently blessed and heard the prayers and petitions of all those who honor Him through the image of the Christ Child. On Christmas 2016, we solemnly enshrined the image of the Santo Nino de Cebu in our parish Church, and for the first time, celebrated His Feast on the third Sunday of January 2017.

This year, we will be praying the Novena to Santo Niño starting on Saturday, January 13th and culminating with a solemn celebration of His Feast on Sunday, January 21stduring the 11:30am Holy Mass. There will be a special Filipino choir and a special procession at the end of Holy Mass. Then, we will gather in the Social Hall to continue our celebration with traditional Filipino food. Please find the Novena Prayers on Page 9 of the bulletin!

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SANTO NIÑO DE CEBU

The Santo Niño de Cebu image was originally produced by Flemish artisans, according to a hagiography, based on a vision of Teresa of Avila, a mystic of the 16th century.

In early 1521, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, in the service of Charles V of Spain, was on his voyage to find a westward route to Spice Islands. On April 7, 1521, he landed in Limasawa, Southern Leyte, and met the local ruler, named Raja Kulambu, who introduced him to the ruler of Cebu Island named Rajah Humabon (some records refer to him as Sultan Humabon) and his wife Hara Humamay. On April 14, 1521, Magellan presented them with three gifts, a cross, an image of Mary and Santo Niño de Cebu as a part of their baptism, and a strategic alliance for territorial conquest. As the host ruler adopted the Catholic faith, he took the Christian names of Carlos (after Charles V), and his wife took the name Juana (after Joanna of Castile, Charles' mother). According to Pigafetta – Magellan's companion and memoir writer, along with the ruler, about 500 males there, along with the Sultana and 40 women were also converted by Father Valderrama. At the ceremony, for example, the Raja Kulambu of Limawasa also converted and was renamed as Don Juan, while his Muslim captain was renamed Don Cristobal.

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 the image was found by Juan Camus. The church was originally made out of bamboo and mangrove palm and claims 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 (Spanish: Basílica Minore del Santo Niño).

Have a blessed week. Pray for one another.

Fr. Michael