Why San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish’s Santo Nino is the Teniente de la Guardia

By: Immae Lachica - CDN Digital | February 09,2020 - 08:00 AM

Photo by: Raul Constantine Tabanao.

CEBU CITY, Philippines— The Fiesta Señor is one of the most awaited events here in Cebu.

This grand mayhem is all for the Balaang Bata, Señor Santo Niño.

People from different walks of life come to Cebu to join the Novena Masses, the Walk for Mary and Jesus, the fluvial procession and the solemn foot procession on the day before the fiesta celebrations.

The solemn foot procession can be considered as one of the highlights of the celebration because it is when the image of the Señor Santo Niño from the Basilica will leave its home to go around the major streets in the city.

But what most people don’t know is that the image of the Señor in the Basilica does not go out of its home without someone to guard his home while he is away.

That’s when the image of the Señor Santo Niño from the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish comes to play.

The image of the Señor Santo Niño from the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish is dubbed as the Teniente de la Guardia (Lieutenant of the Guard).

Patricio Villacorta, chairman of the worship committee of the parish, told CDN Digital their story every Sinulog.

“Ang San Nicolas aduna say kalihokan nga kabahin sa atong Sto. Niño among gi tawag nga Triduum. Unya inig ka Sabado mao na ang culmination diin human sa misa sa alas dyes, kay lage dili man mo gawas ang Sto. Niño sa Basilica unless dili mo sud ang Sto. Niño sa San Nicholas nga gi bunyagan og Teniente de la Guardia,” said Villacorta.

(The San Nicolas Parish has a particular activity involving the Santo Niño. We call it the Triduum. Saturday will be the culmination where after the 10 a.m. Mass, the image of the Basilica’s Santo Niño will leave the area only after the Santo Niño of San Nicolas Parish will enter the Basilica. Because of this, the San Nicolas Parish’s Santo Niño is called the Teniente dela Guardia [lieutenant of the guard].)

But why do they do this?

According to Villacorta the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish was said to be the first home of the image of the Señor Santo Niño before it was transferred to the Basilica.

“Kining atong simbahan natukod atong May 11, 1584 ug gani ang unang simbahan nga na tukod sa mainland Cebu ug ang unang parokya nga gidala sa mga Augostinong pari,” added Villacorta.

(Our parish today has been built on May 11, 1584, and, in fact, our parish has been built on mainland Cebu and this is the first parish that the Augustinian priests ran.)

And since then they have always been practicing their tradition of taking the Teniente de la Guardia to the Basilica and back to its humble abode in their parish.

This just goes to show how important the role of the  Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicholas de Tolentino Parish located in C. Padilla St. in Barangay San Nicholas Proper is during the Fiesta Señor. /dbs

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TAGS: Lieutenant of the Guard, Novena Masses, San Nicolas, San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, Señor Santo Nino, Teniente de la Guardia

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