Dear Parishioners, friends & visitors,
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Santo Nino – The Holy Child.
This celebration began on Saturday with the blessing and procession of images
of the Santo Nino. From the Assisi gym, we processed to the church and
celebrated the Mass of the Feast with the gathered Filipino community.
If there are, other feast and celebrations please let me know so that we
can celebrate them as a parish.
Origin of the Feast
A dominantly Catholic country, The Philippines has at least 76 million baptized
Catholics. With over 500 years of presence, the Catholic Church in the
Philippines directly links to the country’s history. Will it come as a surprise
that the stronghold of Catholicism in the country was brought about by an
adorable curly-haired statue of the child Jesus?
The Santo Niño
It all began when an image of the Holy Child, called the Santo Niño, was given
as a baptismal gift to the local chief’s wife by Spanish explorers led by
Portuguese-born Ferdinand Magellan. When Magellan arrived in Cebu, the
local chief, Rajah Humabon, received him positively.
They were baptized to Catholicism together with his 800 subjects.
Rajah Humabon was baptized, Carlos, after the grandfather of the reigning
monarch, King Philip II (from where the name Philippines comes), and his wife
was baptized as Juana, after King Philip’s grandmother,
Queen Juana of Castille.
When Magellan died and the remaining crew returned to Spain, the natives
returned to their old beliefs and made the image into a pagan idol.
Under Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spaniards successfully colonised
the Philippines in 1565. While raiding the villages, they saw the image again
underneath the fires. Legazpi ordered that a shrine be built for the Santo Niño.
The oldest religious icon in the Philippines
The Santo Niño is as old as the Catholic faith in the country.
Made by Flemish artisans, the statue, now known as the Santo Niño de Cebu, is
enshrined in a chapel within Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, or simply
Santo Niño Basilica. The statue may be a diminutive figure, but it stands regal
with its left hand holding a cross-bearing orb (a symbol of Christian authority),
while it’s other hand is in a priestly blessing gesture. It has a red cape
with intricate embroidery and on top of its head is a crown.
Venerating the child Jesus was widespread in Spain during Magellan’s time
with European wood sculptors having the child as their subject in the 1300s.
Thus, it is not surprising that they gave it as a gift during the baptism rites of
Rajah Humabon. (A similar Infant Jesus icon is the Holy Child of Prague.)
The original statue brought by Magellan is still found in Cebu. Devotees can see
it encased in bulletproof glass. Santo Niño is highly revered in Cebu and in other
places in the country and its popularity resulted in other versions of a Holy
Child dressed in ways people can relate to, from a policeman to a wandering
From Cebu, Santo Niño is venerated all over the country with festivals
celebrated every third Sunday of January. Cebu holds the annual Sinulog festival,
the Philippines’ main religious festival in the child god’s honour, attracting
millions of devotees and tourists annually for decades. Other festivals celebrated
during the feast of the Holy Child are Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan and
Rev. Michael Scherschel
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS 2016
All events and holy mass will be held at the St. Mary’s Worship Center, Upper Coomera
Saturday, 24th December (CHRISTMAS EVE)
4.30pm – Carol Singing | 5:00 – Holy Mass
9.30pm – Carol Singing | 10:00 pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 25th December 2016 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
7.30am Holy Mass
9.30am Holy Mass
Saturday, 31st December (NEW YEAR’S EVE)
6pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 1st January 2017 (NEW YEAR’S DAY)
7.30am Mass | 9am Mass | 5pm Mass
SAINT MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH
Ash Wednesday – Mass at 7pm
Stations of the Cross – Every Friday at 7pm
Mass Times :
(NO 5 PM EVENING MASS ON EASTER SUDAY)