Tawau : The Filipino Pastoral Community ( FPC ) of Holy Trinity Parish celebrated for the fourteenth time in running, the Feast of St. Nino De Cebu on Sunday, 15th January 2012 themed “The Light of Our Life”. The objective of this celebration is to honor the history of Christianity in the Philippines and to be part of the history.
The Sto Nino de Cebu known as the Holy Child of Cebu is highly similar to the Infant Jesus of Prague, is a celebrated Catholic statue of the Child Jesus venerated by Filipino Catholics. It is believed to be the oldest religious image in the Philippines, made in Belgium and brought into the country in 1521.
The statue gained prominence when it miraculously survived a great parish fire in 1565. The statue is permanently housed under bulletproof glass at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino in Cebu City.The feast is celebrated every third Sunday of January.
Having celebrated this event since 1998 here in Holy Trinity, the Fiesta of St. Nino De Cebu becomes one of the most meaningful celebrations for the Filipino Community. Some 700 Filipino faithful coming from across the four parishes, Sandakan, Telupid, Lahad Datu and the host parish of Tawau as well as representatives from the Philippine Embassy attended the Thanksgiving Mass, presided by Fr David Garaman con celebrated by Msgr Nicholas Ong.
In his homily, Fr David said that God is calling us in different and special ways. Jesus called us, just as he had called Samuel. Just like Samuel we failed many a time to recognize His call. It took Samuel sometime to discern on God's call and be ready to listen to Him. We are reminded to reflect our encounter with Jesus, to remain in Him for the rest of our life. We are to live and to learn more about Jesus, to get closer and to share Jesus to others through His spirit in us so that we can be the light to others and lead them to find Jesus in their life.
Fr. David concluded his homily by saying in Visaya, 'pray to St. Nino for His protection from all calamities at present or in the future and may we be always protected by Him.'
After the Eucharistic celebration, the statue of St. Nino, dressed in the most expensive robes and a gold crown was carried in procession along the way from the front of the church to the Parish Hall accompanied with the Sinulog dance. Parishioners were served lunch and entertained to a host of presentations.
Apart from performances of dances and songs, there were also presentations of gifts to senior citizen, the best student awards, the best dressed lady and gentleman for the day and lucky draws.
The celebration ended at 4.00 pm with closing prayer led by Fr. David.