>> Sunday, October 11, 2009
As Filipinos make their way from their beloved homeland to America, what do they bring with them? They bring their families, their strong work ethic, fond memories of their childhood, and rice! Most importantly they bring their devotion and love of the little babe who is God: Santo Niño, who is enshrined in most of the Filipino homes you visit.
How did Santo Niño capture the hearts of the Filipino people in the Philippines? At the request of Charles I of Spain, Ferdinand Magellan voyaged westward to find a route to the Spice Islands. In the course of his voyage he arrived in Cebu, in the southern Philippine Islands in 1521. He established an alliance with Rajah Humabon and his wife, Hara Humamay. This alliance led to their baptism into the Catholic faith. They took the Christian names Carlos and Juana. Magellan gifted Juana with the Santo Niño as a symbol of their alliance.
The Spanish people returned to the Philippines in February 1565 and destroyed Cebu. After the destruction, the Santo Niño was found in relatively good condition. This discovery was considered a miracle and the people quickly erected a church which is today the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. This basilica is an important historical and religious landmark in Cebu. The devotion which began in Cebu is not exclusive to the Cebuano people, but to Filipinos as a whole. We are all recipients of this treasured love and devotion.
Now Santo Niño comes to us at Mount Angel Seminary through the diligent efforts of the people of the Archdiocese of Portland and the Filipino Community of Mount Angel Seminary. The Filipino seminarians have graciously invited the Most Reverend Oscar A. Solis to be part of the festivities on Saturday, January 16th. His Excellency is one of the many Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the first Filipino American to be ordained in the United States.
His Excellency will be the principal presider at the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11:00am. To culminate the festivities there will be a festive reception in the Damian Center with a variety of delicious Filipino food, and traditional Filipino dances.
Many will make their pilgrimage to Mount Angel Seminary on January 16th. They will gather to celebrate the first springs of the faith in the Philippines that began in Cebu. They will gather to celebrate fond memories of their childhood in their native homeland with its sounds, colors, and festivities. Above all, they will unite for one common purpose: to celebrate their love and devotion of the Christ Child in majesty.
Although this is a Filipino celebration, all are warmly invited to partake in these festivities for Santo Niño belongs to all. We all posses a little Filipino spirit through our generous hospitality, through our love for the Holy Child which transcends all cultural expressions. Santo Niño brings us together to celebrate our common faith.
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