Jan 16, 2010

Feast of Sto. Nino

The Santo Niño was considered to be the patron saint of Cebu. However, the Santo Niño is a representation of Jesus Christ as a child. The Catholic Church in the Philippines sets the Holy Child as an example of humility, and as a celebration of the Incarnation. Many Cebuanos do not consider the Christmas season over until the Feast of the Santo Niño.

In 2002, the Archbishop of Cebu, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, declared Jesus' mother Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the official patron saint of Cebu. This upset some of the Santo Niño followers, who felt that the declaration demoted the Holy Child. However, the declaration is consistent with Catholic thought requiring a patron saint be a human saint who has gone to his or her heavenly reward and who prays to God on behalf of the living, rather than a divine being himself.

Since the Holy Child is a representation of Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, he cannot, as God, be considered a patron. In that sense, Cardinal Vidal's move was to actually install a patron saint for Cebu, when before there was none. He did not, however, abolish the feast or the traditional mardigras parade.


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