Rev. Fr. Nestor Bandalan Jr, OSA, vice-rector of the Basilica, presided over the fiesta mass at 5:00 pm at the Santo Niño Pilgrim Center and was concelebrated by some Augustinian friars in Cebu.
In Fr. Bandalan’s homily, Mary’s presence reminds the faithful to go back to the Lord. As the first disciple of her son, she showed us, Jesus, as our teacher, our way, the truth, and the life.
Therefore, as daughters and sons of God, we should call unto Mary to near ourselves to Him and recognize her presence as the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The devotion to the Our Mother of Good Counsel began in 1467, wherein an 18-inch square fresco of a Madonna and child appeared in the Augustinian church in Genazzano, Italy, dedicated to the Our Mother. Her apparition happened on April 25, 1467, at the feast of St. Mark. After the mystic event, every 25th, the faithful celebrated her feast but later was transferred to the following day.
Moreover, the more than five-century old icon had attracted numerous popes to seek her counsel. One of them was Pope John XXIII when he visited her shrine before announcing the convocation of the Second Vatican Council.
Meanwhile, at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, a feast is usually celebrated annually to observe its Augustinian tradition. No other activities are held aside from the offering of a holy mass.
As this year marks the 555th anniversary of the apparition, which coincides with introducing a nine-day novena at the Basilica and in Cebu, the members hope to spread the devotion through these activities together with the growing members of the newly established lay Confraternity.
Established in August 2021, the organization holds other activities such as the icon’s visit to the members’ houses where they pray the rosary and the Prayer to the Our Mother of Good Counsel and the wearing of the white scapular, which Pope Pius VIII approved in 1893. Grace Noynay and Fr. Genesis Labana, OSA.