Palma to devotees: Keep your faith in the Holy Child strong
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Amid uncertainties brought by the pandemic, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged faithfuls to keep their faith in the Señor Sto. Niño strong.
Palma on Sunday, January 17, 2021, officiated the first-ever virtual Pontifical Mass in celebration of the 456th Fiesta Señor at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.
“Many times we only have fear. But today, the Niño tells us to have faith than fear. Put your trust in this little child – small but powerful,” Palma said in his Homily.
Unlike in the past years, this year’s fiesta Mass was celebrated inside the basilica and not in the open Pilgrim Center where thousands of devotees used to attend. The congregation is also limited to the Augustinian friars, the Hermano and Hermana, and other church officials.
Augustinian priests in charge of the week-long Fiesta Señor celebration decided to cancel all face-to-face Masses, including the Pontifical Mass, for this year due to growing concerns related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
RELATED STORY: Physical novena masses for Fiesta Señor 2021 cancelled
The Pontifical Mass usually marks the start of the major activities in line with the secular Sinulog Festival.
In his homily, Palma called on devotees to be grateful and be happy that they were still able to celebrate a ‘more solemn’ feast of the Holy Child.
“Let us appreciate the ambiance and the presence of the original image of the Niño in the context of a pandemic. And come to a realization that, yes maybe the pandemic is still around but it does not paralyze our faith,” he said.
The prelate also encouraged faithfuls to help and care for the poor, sick, little ones and the marginalized as Cebu is expected to be part of the nationwide commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the country.
“We thank the Niño and we thank God for making us instruments to be able to help other people,” Palma said.
This year’s Fiesta Señor celebration will officially end with the hubo Mass scheduled this Friday, January 22, where the Augustinian priests of the Basilica will be replacing the fiesta finery of the image of the Holy Child with simpler clothes of red and gold.
The Basilica, however, is yet to announce whether or not they will allow devotees to physically attend this Friday’s hubo Mass.
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