8 ways to have a meaningful pilgrimage at the Home of the Sto. Niño
The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu is the mater et caput of all churches in the Philippines. It is on this church that the oldest and precious religious relic in the country is being venerated and paid homage, the miraculous Sto. Niño. If you plan to have a pilgrimage in this centuries-old church and convent, here are the things that you might want to do to have a meaningful pilgrimage at the Basilica.
1. Venerate the Oldest Religious Relic
The image of the Sto. Niño is considered as the oldest Catholic religious relic in the Philippines. It was given by Ferdinand Magelland to the newly baptized Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521. The original image is still being displayed and venerated in his chapel beside the altar of the Church. The original image is fragile. The last time the image was used in an outside activity was in 1993. Make an orderly queue going to his chapel in silence and meditative praying. Other devotees would pray the Holy Rosary before presenting themselves to Jesus.
2. Write your petitions to the Niño
Millions of devotees visit the Basilica annually to plea to the child-God, Jesus, the Niño. Writing a letter to Him has been a tradition in the Basilica for centuries, if you wish, you may write and drop it in the designated box inside the chapel.
3. Pray the Perpetual Novena
There are testimonies that praying the novena makes one’s prayer heard. Pray the Perpetual novena as a devotion to the Holy Child not only to ask for prayers but at the same time may the devotion strengthen one’s personal relationship with God through a child, who always carry the virtue of humility like that of an ordinary child.
4. Let the Candle vendors pray for you
Look for these women wearing yellow and red dresses at the façade of the Church. You can ask your prayers to be prayed by them. When you buy their candles at 10.00 pesos each, tell them your prayer and they will pray for it while dancing the traditional Sinulog dance steps of two steps forward and one step backward. Isn’t it more confident and trustworthy offering that someone is also praying for you? Your support to them would also help them in their livelihood.
5. Light the Red Candles
If you wish your prayers to be prayed privately you may also visit the candle area or “DAGKOTAN” located at the right side facing the altar of the Pilgrim Center. Just pick any number of the red candles placed in the boxes within the candle area. There are only three steps to follow, Pick, Light and Pray. The red candles are for free and any donation will also do.
6. Historical walk in the Sto. Niño Museum
Many people who come to visit the Basilica do not know that there is a museum at the basement of the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The museum houses religious treasures of the Holy Child that varies from vestments, jewelries, novena prayers and etc. that dates back to the 1600s.
7. Pray the special indulgence granted to the veneration of the Magellan’s Cross
Did you knowthat the Magellan’s cross was granted a plenary indulgence for those who piously pray before it every Feast of the Triumph of the Cross? You have to pray One (1) Our Father, One (1) Hail Mary, and One (1) Glory to the Father for the intention of the Holy Father in Rome. It was granted by Bishop Santos Gomez Marañon, Bishop of Cebu, 1830-1840.
8. ECCE HOMO: The second oldest religious icon in the Philippines
Ecce Homo is the bust of the suffering Jesus Christ or “Behold the Man.” Ecce Homo was found on August 20, 1572 with the human remains believed to be that of Raja Humabon, the husband of Queen Juana. It is believed that the Ecce Homo was one of the images given to the newly converted Christians when Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521.