‘Undress sins’

THE changing of the vestments of the Sto. Niño image is a symbolic act, reminding the faithful to undress sins from their lives, said an Augustinian priest.

Presiding over the traditional “Hubo” Mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu in Cebu City on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr. said devotees should also free themselves from hatred and pride, jealousy and anxiety; he urged them to be joyful and grateful for everything they have in life.

The priest then encouraged the devotees to transform their faith.

“Let our faith turn into love—love for Señor Sto. Niño, love for our brothers and sisters, and love for all His creations. After all, gihigugma ta niya (He loves us all),” Nohara said.

The “Hubo” Mass—celebrated every Friday after the feast in honor of the Holy Child Jesus on the third Sunday of January—is an annual tradition of the changing of the vestments of the image of the Sto. Niño, marking the end of the Fiesta Señor activities.

The ritual conducted during the “Hubo” Mass included the removal of the Sto. Niño’s crown, followed by the orb, the scepter and the armlet, the bands, cape, tunic, the inner garments and boots.

In the past, the changing of vestments was conducted by the Augustinian friars at the Basilica in private and it was witnessed by a select group of people.

However, when the public learned about the ritual, they then asked the Augustinian priests to allow them to witness it. The ritual was publicly performed for the first time in 1990.

Nohara urged the devotees to never abandon their love for the Holy Child. The Mass ended with a traditional Sinulog dance performed by the San Diego Dance Troupe. (JCT)