The many difficulties and inconveniences brought by the current Covid-19 pandemic were not able to dampen the faith of thousands of Santo Niño devotees who continued to show their deep devotion to the Holy Child despite the restrictions in place during the duration of the novena and fiesta days at the Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City.
Masses at the pilgrim center with the physical presence of the faithful were stopped on the 5th day of the novena but through the help of various mass media platforms, this year’s Fiesta Señor celebrations reached even more families and homes not only locally but all around the world.
The present situation caused by the pandemic made this year’s fiesta theme even more significant: “Santo Niño, the abiding presence of the Father in our journey of faith.”
In his homily during the 2 PM Fiesta Mass, the Prior Provincial, Fr. Andres D. Rivera, Jr., OSA stressed that the image of the Santo Niño represents the enduring presence of God the Father who gives us hope, joy and happiness even in dark times.”
For his part, Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma urged the devotees to have faith over fear while stressing the need to turn to God especially during this time of the pandemic. He said this during the 6 AM Pontifical Mass celebrated inside the basilica church.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil B. Billonespresided at the 5 PM Visperas Mass while Fr. Pacifico C. Nohara, OSA, Prior of the Basilica Community and Basilica Rector presided at the 2 PM Mass during the Adlaw sa Pasalamat or Thanksgiving Day on January 18, 2021.
Activities that were cancelled were the following: 1) Walk with Jesus; 2) Walk with Mary; 3) Traslacion to the National Shrine of Saint Joseph and then to the National Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Regla in Lapu-Lapu City.