By Christina Hermoso
Filipino devotees of the Child Jesus, more popularly venerated as the Santo Niño, observe January as the month of the Holy Child, in honor of the Child Jesus, whose image has become a common fixture in many Roman Catholic homes in the country.
Colorful festivities, town fiestas, elaborate processions and other commemorative rites are traditionally held in many parts of the country at this time of the year, particularly on the third Sunday of January which is celebrated as the Feast of the Santo Niño.
In 2014, the feast of the Holy Child was particularly memorable as it coincided with Pope Francis’ farewell mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, Manila.
Devotion to the Child Jesus is widespread and popular among Filipino Catholics who keep an image of the Holy Child in their altars at home. As the revered patron of children, parents invoke the intercession of the Santo Niño to keep watch over their children.
Church officials said, “The image of the Child Jesus with a king’s crown symbolizes the Kingship and the Childhood of Christ. The small globe on His hand signifies that Christ is the King of the Universe who became a little child.” The Church encourages the faithful to “trust in the loving and powerful intercession of the Holy Child Jesus and to raise all children to God and ask the Lord to enfold them in His love and protection.”
The Church urges the faithful to reflect and find wisdom on Matthew 18:34, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.”