Cebu News

‘Talking’ Niño draws crowd in Lapu

Jose P. Sollano, Bong Soriano - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - Hundreds from Barangay Mactan and the neighboring areas are trooping to the house of factory worker Ramil Arellano in Sitio Saac 2 in the barangay to witness a “talking” Sr. Sto. Niño.

The eight-and-a-half-foot image was allegedly found by three children playing by the seashore of Sitio Saac 2 last Jan. 24, the day of the annual “Hubo” of the Sto. Niño at Basilica del Sto. Niño.

Fr. Jonas Mejares, Basilica rector, said the Catholic Church will conduct further investigation, but advised the people to put their faith in proper perspective.

“Busa ako moingon nga kinahanglan nga ang atong pagtuo ipasikad usab sa pamaagi sa atong Simbahang Katoliko (That is why I will say that our faith must also be based on the ways of our Catholic Church),” he said.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza also reminded the public that while it is good to believe in miracles, the people should be careful because there are also those who prey on the faithful.

`“Devotion to a saint is a good habit, but we must be careful and see to it that it won’t be the gateway to swindling and corruption,” she said.

She instructed Barangay  Mactan officials to monitor those who descended on Saac 2 to ensure that they do not get swindled and see to it that the whole scenario is not about making money.

The children, Ninel Ballermo, three; Charmil Arellano, six; and her brother KG Ace, four,  were playing by the beach around 1 p.m. when Ninel found the image.

He, at first, thought it was just an ordinary doll, but when it started talking to him, he threw it to the sea.

“Dad-a ko sa inyong balay kay dili ko daotan (Bring me to your home because I am not evil),” the image reportedly told the children, prompting KG Ace to pick up it up and bring to their house.

`Ramil Arellano, 28, a factory worker of a foreign company at the Mactan Export Zone Phase 1, said that when his son brought the image to their house and was told of their story, he had it placed in a makeshift altar.

He then brought the image to the Mactan Parish Church for blessing the following day.

Word on the “talking” Sto. Niño spread among residents of Mactan and the neighboring barangays that people started flocking to Saac 2.

Condrado Agosto, former Mactan barangay councilor, said he was the one who facilitated the construction of a small chapel to house the image of the Sto. Niño.

By then devotees came in droves already, bringing candles and flowers to visit and pray before the image.

Mejares said they would look into the matter more closely, saying the Church would have to interview the witnesses.

“While God really works wonders and miracles in many forms and ways, yet, basically, the Catholic Church must first seek to determine what exactly happened or at least what is claimed,” he said.

After that, Fr. Mejares said rigorous testing would be done in the concerned area or on the individual who has undergone the supposed miracle.

“ In order to efface all bias, the Vatican invites and seeks to involve as many secular authorities like doctors, scientists, lawyers, scholars, others” he said, adding that the Church would first seek to explain the “miracle” through natural causes.

“This process may take weeks to years. Only when all natural explanation has been exhausted and when the witnesses have been proven to be of sound mind and character, and the effects of the miracle judged beneficial, will the Vatican authenticate the miracle by publicly acknowledging it as only able to have been wrought by God himself,” he added.

Meanwhile,  with people lining up just to get a glimpse of the image and bringing a hollow block each as donation to construct a better chapel, traffic in Saac 2 is now heavy.—(FREEMAN)

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