The weather was hot and humid when the pilgrim image of the Sto. Nino de Cebu was paraded in the Pasig River on August 16.
But this did not deter devotees from joining the pilgrim image’s first fluvial procession.
Sixty-four-year-old Jesusa Concio of Pasig was happy that she was able to join the procession to give thanks to the Sto. Nino for saving her and her mother from death years ago.
“It was actually my mother who introduced me to Him. One time she brought me to Cebu because she said we need to give thanks to Him. According to her, she nearly died when she gave birth to me but she made it because the family prayed to the Sto. Nino. That’s also the reason why my parents named me Jesusa,” she said while watching organizers place the image in front of a ferry boat in a station in Intramuros, for the start of the fluvial procession.
Thirty-five-year-old Elies Gavino also wanted to give thanks to the child Jesus for her eyesight.
“I had a problem with my eyes when I was little. The doctors told my parents that my eyes should be operated on, but since we didn’t have money, my dad would always bring me to Tondo Church to ask Sto. Nino to help heal my eyes. After a few years, my eyesight improved thanks to Him,” she said.
Some of those who joined the foot procession, which preceded the fluvial procession, asked for healing for their loved ones and 23-year-old Ino Ibanez was one of them.
“My son is sickly and he has been in and out of the hospital. I’m here today to pray to the Sto. Nino to help heal him,” he said.
Augustinian priest Harold Rentoria said such stories is the reason why the image is being brought in different parts of the country to give the faithful the chance to venerate the image and to also remind Catholics of the need to deepen their faith in Him.
“The Sto. Nino is the symbol of our Catholic faith. Everytime we see the image, we are reminded of our faith. As Catholics and Christians, we need to deepen our faith and not just focus on the external,” he said.
“I think the best and the greatest miracle that the Sto. Nino can bring to our life is our faith,” added Rentoria, who is also the head of the sub-commission on Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
The pilgrim visit and fluvial procession is part of the 450th anniversary of the finding of the sacred image by the Order of St. Augustine in 1565.
The original image, which is currently housed at the Basilica Del Sto Nino Cebu, is believed to be brought by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 as a gift to Rajah Humabon and his wife, Amihan who were converted to the Christian faith.
The image was discovered by one of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s soldiers, Juan Camus, in a partially burned hut.