Santo Niño de Cebu
Santo Niño de Cebu commemorates the statue of infant Jesus which was brought to the island Cebu. It is the oldest Christian image in the Philippines. Drums and whistles make music within the Cathedral as women dance in colorful, traditional clothing, while raising a statue of infant Jesus.
The Mass and banquet are held on the third Sunday of every January at Saint Cecilia.
People come from the Omaha area as well as from around the country.
Many of the people here lived in the Philippines, and call the Omaha chapter of Filipino Catholics their home away from home. The Omaha community of Filipino Catholics holds the distinction of being one of the most active celebrants of this festival outside of the Philippines.
Santo Niño de Cebu is a festival is faith and culture.
On April 28, 1565, Juan Camus, a sailor in the Legaspi fleet, found in a modest house of the village of Cebu, the image of Santo Niño, which was thought to have been brought from Europe. Deeply impressed by this finding and aware of its significance, Legaspi ordered an official inquiry. The document drawn on May 16 of the same year, extant in the archives of the Santo Niño Convent in Cebu, reports the testimony of eyewitnesses that the Image was found inside a small pine box, preserved in almost perfect condition. The Santo Niño was dressed in a little shirt and a cap. Two fingers of his right hand were raised in blessing, while the left hand held a globe symbolizing the world.
The Image was carried in solemn procession to the provisional church used by the Augustinian Fathers. Later, another church was built on the exact location where the Image had been found. This is the site of the Santo Niño Church where it has been cared for by the Augustinians and venerated by the Filipino people through the succeeding centuries.
An earlier authenticated entry in the journal of Pigafetta, clerk in the Magellan expedition, explains the origin of Santo Niño. On the day Queen Juana was baptized by Father Pedro Valderrama, chaplain of the expedition, Pigafetta himself presented the Queen with the Image.
In 1965, the interior of the historic church was renovated for the observance of the fourth centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines, held in Cebu City. During this centennial celebration, on April 1, 1965, the church was elevated to the rank of Minor Basilica by the Sacred Congregation of Rites with all the rights and privileges accruing to such title. With the full support and cooperation of the Filipino people and the sanction of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Augustinian Fathers have built a marble chapel inside the Basilica. This worthy shrine of Santo Niño now serves as a center of devotion for Catholic Filipinos.