Santo Niño image visits city hospital
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - January 5, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The cold weather due to the incessant rains yesterday did not deter the personnel and patients at the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) to give the Santo Niño image a warm welcome when the holy image had its first stop for a four-day pilgrimage.


The beat of the drums reverberated and people went on dancing as the pilgrim image of the Holy Child reaches the CCMC grounds.

The crowd did not mind the drizzle. People had their eyes on the encased image as tears rolled down on their cheeks while they whispered their silent prayers.

Many gathered at the CCMC altar where the pilgrim image was enthroned.

Aulita Rivera, when she had her turn, burst in tears as she kissed the encased image.

In an interview with The FREEMAN, she said she is hoping that her 65-year-old husband would recover from being bedridden for five days already.

Her husband experienced a serious heart attack due to high blood pressure, and she is hoping that prayers to the Holy Child may bring miracles.

The Augustinian fathers organized the visits to reach out those who are beyond the peripheries of the basilica and who could not pay homage to the Santo Niño because of their condition.

The pilgrimage to the Cebu City hospitals until Monday and at the Cebu City Jail the following day was scheduled as a prelude to the nine-day novena Mass that is set to kick off on January 10.

The religious priests during the Masses exhort on Catholics to stay away from sinfulness and, rather, to draw closer to the Holy Child who will heal sickened souls and rehabilitate broken lives.

During the welcome Mass on the image’s arrival at CCMC, Fr. Luigi Kent Maria Martinez of the Franciscan Order said people should “leave” sinfulness and live a life with God’s grace.

He urged the faithful to resort to prayers and constant praying, to fight evil and temptations.

While at the Basilica’s pilgrim center, Fr. Dante Juloc of the Augustinian Order said in his homily during the 12 noon sendoff Mass that devotees should keep a “personal” and intimate relationship with God.

By deepening their faith and devotion, Catholics may grow in becoming disciples or followers of God, he added.

He also encouraged the devotees to "stay" with Him or to keep and live out his words and teachings especially in the present times with the advent of modern technology several circumstances hinder them from having a personal encounter with God.

"Let us focus in Him. Let us all accept his invitation to come and see him personally. Let us stay with Jesus even though it would require efforts and sacrifice," he told the crowd that braved the bad weather.

Following the Mass, Fr. Juloc blessed the image with incense before it was carried down the aisle and mounted on a pickup truck for a caravan in going to CCMC.

Festive mood greeted the caravan despite the continuous rains in the afternoon. The pilgrim image was then settled at the Florian chapel near the CCMC for a welcome Mass.

After the Mass, drums and bugles with the crowd accompanied the pilgrim image that was carried to the CCMC building as it will be taking rounds inside the hospital from the patients' wards to hospital's departments or units.

It is set to stay overnight at CCMC before it will be transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center today.

It is also scheduled to be moved to the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital and Chong Hua Hospital on January 6 and 7, respectively. — John Kendrick P. Ceciban, USJ-R Intern, GAN (FREEMAN)

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