Fiesta Señor exhibit

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

FOR a change, there is only one image of the Holy Child at the Señor Santo Niño exhibit at SM City Cebu. This is the Pilgrim image of the Santo Niño de Cebu commissioned in 1965 that visited all Cebu parishes in the fourth centennial celebration of its finding. It is placed in the original sterling silver urna, an antique piece dating back to the mid 1800s.

Instead, there are about 20 paintings that depict the history of the statue and its finding four centuries ago, and the Augustinian order in Cebu, in whose keeping the statue has been placed, through all these years.

The exhibit marks the 30th year of the Order of Saint Augustine Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu-Philippines (housed at the Pilgrim Center). It is also the opening salvo for next year’s 50th anniversary of the San Augustine Church being made Minor Basilica of the Sto. Niño (and National Shrine of the Child Jesus), and the 450th anniversary of the finding of the Santo Niño in Cebu by the soldier Juan Camus. In addition, it is also the 450th anniversary of the presence of the Augustinians in Cebu, starting with Fr. Andres Urdaneta who came to Cebu with the expedition led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.


Among the paintings (there are nine portraits) is that of Ferdinand Magellan, who originally got the image from King Carlos I of Spain, and who in turn gave the statue to Cebu’s Queen Juana, wife of Rajah Humabon. There are four historical paintings. The portraits and five miracle paintings were done by Ariel Caratao and Emar Lacorte of Lapu-Lapu City.

In the speech of Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA, Prior Provincial of the Augustinian Province of Cebu, and delivered for him by Fr. Rodolfo Bugna, OSA, he pointed out that the image of the Santo Niño “is dressed as the Captain General, which is the highest position in the Spanish military then and therefore the Holy Child was conferred that tribute not only by Legaspi, the head of the 1565 expedition, but even confirmed by the king of Spain.

As a consequence of this conferment, the Santo Niño was declared as the protector and patron of Cebu. In fact, there was a decree from the king calling Cebu as the Villa del Santo Niño.”

From Cebu, the devotion to the Santo Niño has spread throughout the country and the “mainly devotional aspect of the reality of the Santo Niño (has) acquired a more personal and family dimension when devotees made the sacred image part of their homes, their cars and even their offices and business.”

The exhibited, curated by Clodoveo Nacorda, also has a seven-minute audio –visual presentation of the canonical presence of the Philippine province of the Order of St. Augustine. He said the exhibit will run up to Jan. 26, after which it will be brought to SM Iloilo and then to the Mall of Asia as part of the opening salvo of the triple anniversaries the Augustinians in Cebu will celebrate in 2015.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 20, 2014.


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