By: Fflor Jackson

NAVAL, Biliran – Devotees of Senior. Santo Niño in the towns of Naval in Biliran province and in Calubian, Leyte welcome the arrival of Senior Santo Nino de Cebu as the pilgrim image arrives at the Naval port on Friday, October 21.

During the coordination meeting held at the Naval State University (NSU) President’s office conference room which was attended by all officials involved in the preparation of the visit of Senior Santo Nino de Cebu in Naval and Calubian including Msgr. Filomeno Bactol, Bishop of Naval, Fr. Tito Soquiño, chairman of the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation said that the activity dubbed as “Duaw Santo Nino” or the visit of the Holy Child Jesus which is now on its third year will be brought for the first time to Naval en route to Calubian in the province of Leyte.

This is the first time that Senior Santo Nino de Cebu goes outside the Diocese of Cebu.

He informed that “Duaw Santo Nino” carries two themes which are to bring the Pilgrim Image closer to the people and to spread the Gospel teachings on respect for the ecology which focuses on climate change and what the people can do to respond to the problem.

He said, the event is part of the church’ ecological evangelization.

Before the image of Senior Santo Nino de Cebu leaves for Naval, Biliran on Thursday, October 20, a send-off mass will be said at the Santo Nino Basilica in Cebu City at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, afterwhich, a procession follows passing through Malacanang sa Sugbo. The pilgrim image will go on board a Philippine Navy vessel and will be accorded a passing military naval honor parade and review as it passes the naval port.

The vessel carrying Senior Santo Nino will bear a flag with its coat of arms and this will signal to other sailors at sea that the image is on board.

“Some eight vessels from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and other shipping lines will be escorting the navy ship that carries the image of Senior Santo Nino de Cebu” said Dr. Edita Genson, President of the Naval State University (NSU) and the designated over-all chairman of “Duaw Santo Nino in Naval and the St. Therese Diocesan Shrine in Brgy. Obispo, Calubian, Leyte.

Senior Santo Nino de Cebu is expected to arrive Naval port at 6:00 o’clock in the morning on Friday, October 21.

A military naval honor parade and review will be given to the Holy Child upon His arrival here at the port of Naval.

The pilgrim image will also be met by white duck-uniformed students of the NSU and some 500 NSU dancers.

After the arrival ceremonies, a procession to the Naval Cathedral follows immediately where a mass will be celebrated by Msgr. Filomeno Bactol at 7:00 o’clock in the morning.

The Sto. Nino will stay at the Cathedral for one hour to give devotees more time to pray and venerate the Holy Child Jesus.

At l0:00 o’clock in the morning, a procession will take place from the Naval Cathedral to NSU for a short visit to the university.

Part of the schedule of the visit to the NSU is a symposium spearheaded by the Sto. Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Incorporated.

The symposium will be attended by the students of the NSU.

Ecological evangelization will take center stage in said activity – how people would act to help protect the environment to mitigate the effects of climate change.

A film showing about the Santo Nino and St. Theres immediately follows the symposium.

The same symposium and film showing will be conducted at the St. Therese Diocesan Shrine upon arrival of the pilgrim image of Sto. Nino in Brgy. Obispo, Calubian.

From NSU, Sr. Sto. Nino leaves for Calubian at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon after the departure honors at the Naval port.

The fluvial procession from Naval port to Calubian which will also be joined in by motorboat owners from the eight municipalities of Biliran province follows immediately where Sr. Santo Nino will be met by the local officials of Calubian led by Mayor Doroteo Palconit, devotees, parish officials and other groups in a grand welcome ceremonies at the Calubian port. To add color to the arrival honors is the performance of the members of the Lubi-lubi Festival in said municipality.

The visit of Sr. Santo Niño de Cebu in Naval, Biliran and in Calubian, Leyte is part of the 10-year countdown of the 500th year celebration when the Pilgrim Image of Sr. Santo Niñ6 was brought by Magellan from Spain to the shores of Limasawa almost 500 years ago. (FJ/PIA 8 Biliran)


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