SAN DIEGO — A Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, introduced the Catholic faith to the Philippines in 1521, when his ship arrived on a southern island. The local ruler and his people decided to adopt the Catholic faith, and Magellan gave him a statue of the Christ Child on his baptism.
The explorer would die soon thereafter and it would be 44 years before the next expedition would arrive. This time, the locals rebuffed the Europeans and, in retaliation, they torched the town of Cebu. However, the statue was found unscathed in the ruins, considered a miracle. The devotion to Santo Niño, as the Christ Child became known, was born.
Filipinos worldwide are celebrating those roots during the 500th anniversary of Christianity reaching the Philippines.
As a part of that celebration, the Diocesan Commission for Filipino Catholics will hold a Mass for the Feast of Santo Niño on Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. at St. Michael Church, San Diego. The faithful will bring their Santo Niño statues to be blessed at the Mass, which also features a blessing for the children.
It’s one of several Masses that will be held to honor Santo Niño at parishes across the diocese.
More information about the Santo Niño Mass is available at (858) 490-8306 and sdcatholic.org/santonino2022.