MIRACLES await those who suffer.
This was the message of Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones in his homily during the welcome mass of the traslacion at the National Shrine of St. Joseph, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.
The traslacion symbolizes the reunion of Mother Mary, the Child Jesus and St. Joseph.
To some, the celebration of the Holy Family means freedom from pain or sickness. This was what Wilma Antigua, 63, could attest to as she said her devotion spared her from back surgery.
Antigua is a devotee from Barangay Cambaro, Mandaue City. She said she witnessed a miracle of the Señor Sto. Niño.
Antigua said that in 2016, a nerve in her lumbar or lower back was pressed and her doctors advised her to undergo surgery.
She decided instead to pray to the Sto. Niño by completing the nine-day novena masses and dancing at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.
Now, she said, she does not need an operation as the Sto. Niño answered her prayer.
Bishop Billones said in an interview that it was his first time to participate in the Traslacion of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) and he is thankful for the devotees who participated.
He said the Sagrada Familia presents the message that when families help each other, miracles happen.
“Kung naay pagtabangay (If we help each other), forgiveness, then the miracle of healing will happen and we can have progress and success as well,” Billones said.
In a separate interview, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes encouraged devotees to continue with their devotion to the Señor Sto. Niño.
“Hopefully, the trials will not hinder our faith in the Señor Sto. Niño... There are no problems that have no solutions,” said Cortes in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Walk with Mary
An estimated 300,000 devotees joined the Walk with Mary Friday dawn and the traslacion that followed to Mandaue City.
For Priscilla Dihayco, 56, and Constancia Yayon, 59, devotees from Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City, it was an annual experience for them to join the Walk with Mary to the Basilica del Sto. Niño, the traslacion or moving of the image to Mandaue City and the arrival of the Child Jesus at the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City.
They said they had been doing this for 25 years.
Meanwhile, the images of Mother Mary and the Child Jesus were set to leave the National Shrine of St. Joseph right after the farewell mass at 11 p.m. Friday to transfer to the Virgen dela Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City.
From Lapu-Lapu will be the Sto. Niño fluvial procession to Pier 1 in Cebu City to bring the image back to the basilica.
As of Friday, Jan. 17, the Philippine Coast Guard District in Central Visayas listed 160 participating vessels for the seaborne procession at dawn today, Saturday, Jan. 18.
The Sto. Niño image will ride on the mv Teofilo Camomot owned by the Mandaue Shipping and Lighterage Corp.
Also on Saturday afternoon, the Sto. Niño solemn foot procession in Cebu City will begin at 1 p.m. at the basilica.
Road closures will take effect at 10 a.m. (KFD, JCT)