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Abundant Santo Niño blessings

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SAN DIEGO — Around 400 Filipinos joyfully celebrated Santo Niño, or the Christ Child, at St. Michael’s Church in Paradise Hills, one of the largest such gatherings in recent years.

Bishop Robert McElroy celebrated the special Mass on Jan. 15, his first public liturgy since undergoing open-heart surgery in November.

The Mass was one of several held in parishes across the San Diego region to celebrate Santo Niño, widely venerated as miraculous by Filipino Catholics.

Many families brought statues with the image of the Santo Niño to be blessed, some beautifully elaborate.

In his homily, the bishop shared his experience of visiting the Basilica de Santo Niño in Cebu, in the Philippines, and personally witnessing the devotion to the icon.

The original Santo Niño statue dates back to 1521, and is the oldest Christian artifact in the Philippines. Filipinos the world over are celebrating the 500th anniversary of Christianity reaching the Philippines, a celebration that continues into this year.

For information about the Diocesan Commission for Filipino Catholics, contact Charlotte Fajardo at (858) 271-0207, ext. 1204.

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