Almost 500 years ago, on the island of Cebú in the Philippines, a small wooden statue of a round-cheeked, yet regal infant Jesus began an influential cultural reign far greater than its small stature.
Gifted to Queen Juana in 1521 by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan on the occasion of her baptism, the statue was rediscovered 44 years later, having survived a fire that burned down Cebú.
In the centuries since, the image of Santo Niño de Cebú (Holy Child of Cebú) has been purported to be miraculous in nature and responsible for marvels ranging from healing the sick to causing infertile women to become pregnant. The statue survives today and is kept in the Basilica del Santo Niño in the Philippines. To this day, Filipino households around the world have their own replicas and continue to venerate the child year-round.
Many thanks to the El Shaddi community of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and especially to the many volunteers who made this celebration a night to remember!