Solemn motorcade kicks off Sto. Niño feast

·3 min read

THE nine-day novena for the 457th feast day celebration of Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu commenced on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

Rev. Fr. Nelson Zerda presided over the 6 a.m. mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño after a mobile procession of the Sto. Niño image around Cebu City.

Police described the “Walk with Mary” motorcade at dawn as peaceful even as several devotees attempted to join the motorcade on board their motorcycles.

Police Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for operation of the Cebu City Police Office, said the presence of policemen deployed in several parts of the city since Thursday helped maintain order on the streets.

Parilla said devotees on board their vehicles started to follow the convoy when it passed them by along the road. They were prevented by police.

Only five vehicles were allowed to join the motorcade to avoid crowding the street.

“Some of those on board motorcycles were able to insert. That’s the problem we saw resulting to a longer motorcade,” Parilla said in Cebuano.


The dawn motorcade which began at 4:30 a.m. lasted approximately 30 minutes passing through Osmeña Boulevard on the way to M.J. Cuenco Avenue then Imus Road going up to Gen. Maxilom Avenue towards Archbishop Reyes Extension for a brief stopover at the Redemptorist Church.

From Redemptorist Church, the convoy proceeded to Gen. Maxilom Avenue, Fuente Osmeńa Circle then Osmeña Boulevard on its way back to the Basilica.

When the Sto. Niño image arrived at the Basilica, devotees were not allowed inside the church.

But church officials said devotees can light candles and pray at the Pilgrim Center outside the church while following the Covid-19 protocols on social distancing and the wearing of masks.

A total of 120 policemen in three shifts have been deployed to the Sto. Niño church to maintain peace and order 24 hours until the Sto. Niño fiesta on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022.

The CCPO said only vaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter the church grounds to light candles and pray while novena masses will be streamed online for the public.


Meanwhile, in his homily Zerda asked devotees how it feels to be alone and isolated after the devastation of Typhoon Odette (Rai) and the ongoing threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zerda likened the current situation to the leper in the Gospel of Luke who was avoided by other people for fear of being contaminated by his disease.

“Jesus opted to touch the leper, to show God delivering once more his afflicted people from their predicament,”

said Zerda.

The priest also cited the significance of the Cebuano’s devotion to the Child Jesus, Señor Sto. Niño being the “batobalani sa gugma” or magnet of love.

According to Zelda, with prayers and petition, God is being attracted to the people.

“Indeed we are not alone and we are not lonely because God is with us. He hears our cries,” Zerda said. (IRT, BBT)

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