"Viva Santo Niño! Viva! Pit Señor!"
The Filipino Community at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church
Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Old City is the parish of choice for many Filipino-Americans in the Philadelphia area, and devotion to Santo Nino de Cebu, the Holy Child Jesus, is one of the most popular devotions among the Filipino people.
Devotion to Santo Nino was originally brought to the Philippine Islands by Augustinian missionaries in 1535, and the Basilica in Cebu is the international center for this devotion. On January 11, 1992, a statue of Santo Nino, was installed at Saint Augustine Church in Philadelphia, which is now the National Shrine for devotion to Santo Nino in North America.
In July 1994, an official replica of the original statue of Santo Nino was commissioned by the Augustinians in the Philippines to be permanently enshrined at Saint Augustine. This statue symbolizes the unity of faith of the people and Augustinian friars in the Philippine Islands with the people and Augustinian friars in the United States.
Novena prayers to Santo Nino are held after the 11:00 a.m. Mass every Sunday in the church and all are invited to join in this devotion to the patron of the Philippines.
In the Philippines and in St. Augustine’s Church, an annual feast honoring Santo Nino called “Sinulog”, is celebrated on the third Sunday in January. Because of the cold weather in January in this part of the United States, the Filipino Catholic community of the Delaware Valley decided to celebrate another feast of Santo Nino with a “Summer Sinulog” on the third Sunday in August, close to the feast of St. Augustine, which occurs on August 28th.
Fiat Prayer Group
The Miraculous Story of the Santo Niño de Cebu
Almost 500 years ago, Ferdinand Magellan discovered Cebu City in the Philippines, claiming the land for Spain in 1521 and bringing Christianity to the Cebuanos. The image of the Señor Santo Niño was given to Queen Juana of Cebu, who was later baptized along with her husband Rajah Humabon and their people. Not long after, however, the Cebuanos turned against the Spaniards, and the Spaniards burned the area. The image of Santo Niño was caught in the blaze and assumed lost.
Years later, in 1565, Spanish conquistadors returned, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Searching through the rubble, the image was found unscathed, and the local people quickly acknowledged its survival as miraculous, and a church was later constructed on the site of the discovery. The image itself was moved to San Agustin Church at the order of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and Father Urdaneta. San Augustin Church was the oldest in Cebu, and was renamed Santo Niño. Today, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño is an important historical and religious landmark in Cebu.
The Feast of Sinulog at St. Augustine Church begins with a nine day Novena, with each day sponsored by different associations and companies in honor of the Señor Santo Niño. The ceremonies begin with an early pluvial parade renacting the coming of the Spaniards. On the ninth day, the Holy Mass is celebrated, and the procession at offertory and after the final blessing follows the distinctive Sinulog rhythm, as the faithful hold images of Santo Niño aloft in praise and joy. This celebration attracts faithful from all over the world, and is open to people of all cultures and traditions, as a display of rich cultural heritage and fervent, humble faith.
Sinulog, the Festival of Santo Niño de Cebu, is a celebration of prayer, thanksgiving, intercession, and adoration in honor of the beloved Señor Santo Niño, the King and Savior.