Thousands of devotees are expected to join the “Walk with Jesus” from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino in downtown Cebu City at 4:30 a.m. tomorrow.
The more than two-kilometer walk will usher in the 447th fiesta celebration in honor of the Sto. Niño de Cebu.
Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, rector of the centuries-old church, will preside over a e 5:30 a.m. Mass which includes the installation of this year’s Hermano and Hermana Mayores at the Pilgrim Center of the basilica.
The activity marks the start of nine-day novena Masses leading to the feast of the Holy Child Jesus on Sunday, Jan. 20.
The religious activities will focus on the theme “Journeying Together in Faith with Sto. Niño.”
“The theme was chosen simply because we are in the Year of Faith and that we, the devotees of the Child Jesus, must realize that we need one another in expressing such faith with the guidance of the Holy Child,” Mejares said.
Pope Benedict XVI declared Oct. 11, 2012 to Nov. 24, 2013 as the Year of Faith, marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
24 hours open
Mejares said the basilica, which has been the center of the four-century-old devotion to the Sto. Niño, will be open 24 hours a day from Jan. 17 to 20.
This has to be done to accommodate the throngs of devotees who come to venerate the original image of the Sto. Niño which is enthroned in a glass encasement at a side chapel in the basilica.
At least 10 Masses a day are being celebrated in the basilica in Cebuano and English starting at 5:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Walk with mary
The Augustinian friars, who supervise the basilica, chose not to have an Environmental Mass during the novena this year.
On Jan. 18, Friday, there will be another traditional prayer walk from Fuente Osmeña to the basilica for the “Walk With Mary.”
The Misa de Traslacion will also be held at 7 a.m. that day. After the Mass, images of the Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu will be brought to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City in a
On Jan. 19, Saturday, the images will be brought back to the basilica through a fluvial procession which will start from the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City, through the Mactan channel to Pier 1 in Cebu City.
The reenactment of the planting of the cross, first Mass and baptism will follow at the basilica’s pilgrim center.
At 1 p.m. on Jan. 19, the solemn foot procession of the Sto. Niño will be held along major streets in the city. It will be followed by a pontifical Mass and the hour-long dancing of the traditional Sinulog with prayer petitions at the pilgrim center.
On the feast day of the Sto. Nino on Jan. 20, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma will celebrate the pontifical Mass at 6 a.m. at the pilgrim center. /ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL