Palma: Sinulog is a feast for children
Kristine B. Quintas (The Freeman) - January 17, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Sinulog is not just the feast of Señor Sto.Niño but the feast for all children.

This was the message of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma during yesterday’s Pontifical Mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño for the 451st feast of the Holy Child.

Palma said the annual celebration is a continuous reminder to love and care for children beyond words.

“Many of our children might not receive the right love and compassion from others, from us. Let’s love, care and carry them just like how we love, adore, carry and worship the Señor Sto. Niño,” he said, adding a true Christian should give love with an honest heart and without boundaries.

He said this year’s Sinulog celebration may be a call for more love and not a senseless cry for more gree-diness or self-indulgence.

In line with this, the prelate cited activities during the 51st International Eucharistic Congress wherein some 500 street children are engaged to take part in their first commu-nion on January 31 at the Cebu City Sports Complex. The congress is set from Jan. 24 to Jan. 31 in this city.

He said street children, who are sometimes “neg-lected” by society, should receive fair love and not be rejected and left out.

Palma urged the faithful to develop a strong love and connection to the Holy Child and said the Feast of Señor Sto. Niño is a “strong reminder that we should care for our children.”

He said children, like Sto. Niño, likes to be carried and loved. “Let us carry Him in our hearts and in our lives,” he said.

Palma said the image of the Holy Child has been a part of people’s faith for more than four centuries since it was discovered on April 28, 1565.

Palma even described Filipino’s faith to the Holy Child as “enthusiastic.” The Feast of Sr. Sto Niño, he ad-ded, is one of the special and most celebrated feasts in the country.

As the number of devotees swelled inside and outside the Pilgrim Center yesterday, Palma said whatever reasons they have in attending the mass or whatever personal petitions they pray before the Sr. Santo Niño, everyone must see the Holy Child as source of mercy and compassion.

He further shared to the crowd the time when Queen Juana first saw the religious relic of Sto. Niño.

Quoting Historian Antonio Pigafetta, Palma narrated that “when the priest got ready for the ceremony, the Queen of Cebu, wife of King Humabon, was shown the little statue of the Infant Jesus. She was deeply touched and tearfully asked to be baptized. She wanted to replace their idols with the image of Sto. Niño and so this was given to her. On that very occasion, the early Cebuanos numbering nearly a thousand were converted and baptized with their King and Queen. Thus the seed of Christianity, cultivated and nurtured by the Spanish Evangelists grew and flowered throughout the 7,000 islands.”

This jubilee year of mercy and compassion, “Jesus Christ is the face of the mercy of God”, Palma said, wishing that hope would reign amidst adversities.

He reminded Cebuanos who attended the mass at the Basilica to thank God for adding another year to their lives, as well as for keeping the faith going. He pointed out that the Sinulog festival is also a celebration of thanksgiving.

“Aside from dances, for us Cebuanos, mas mahinungdanon ning atong awit Bato Balani sa Gugma,” he said. —/ATO (FREEMAN)

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