CEBU-BOUND. The image of Señor Santo Niño enshrined at the San Jose Parish church in this city left for Cebu City Friday evening (January 11) for change of vestment as part of the preparations for the 2019 Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. (Photo by Perla Lena)
ILOILO CITY -- The image of Señor Santo Niño enshrined at the San Jose Parish church in this city was set to leave for Cebu City Friday afternoon to undergo change of vestment as part of the preparations for the 2019 Dinagyang Festival.
Rev. Fr. Raymund Edsel Alcayaga, OSA, in an interview, said the Señor Santo Niño will leave after the opening salvo via boat and will be back on January 16 via airplane just in time for the start of the novena masses held in his honor.
The image is one of the replicas of the original image enshrined at the Basilica in Cebu.
Last year, the replica also underwent a wardrobe change in time for the 50th year of the Dinagyang Festival that also marked the golden year when the image was first brought to Iloilo.
“Upon his arrival at the (Iloilo International) airport, we will be having a caravan with stopover in parishes of Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, University of San Agustin – Sambag campus and to San Jose,” he said.
The celebration of the Dinagyang Festival centers on Ilonggos’ devotion to Señor Santo Niño. It started as early as 1968 as a purely religious event.
The celebration grows bigger every year and in 1976, it was ceded to the city government. It was also in response to the declaration of that year by then president Ferdinand Marcos as a “Tourism Year” when local government units were asked to identify attractions to entice visitors.
Meanwhile, Alcayaga said they have already put in place various religious activities this 2019.
The nine-day novena mass will culminate on January 25 with a fluvial procession at the Iloilo River followed by the solemn mass procession.
On January 16, couple judges and Sara Peña will be installed as Hermano and Hemana Mayor to lead in the various undertakings of the parish. On January 17, there will be a re-enactment of the baptism of Queen Juana, while on January 19, there will be coronation of the Niño Ambassador.
Thousands of children from 10 barangays surrounding the parish will partake of the feeding program and join parlor games prepared by the parish. There will also be medical and dental missions for indigent residents of the parish.
On January 24, the parish will re-enact the arrival of the image at the San Jose Parish, as well as the merry-making around Plaza Libertad.
On January 25, pregnant mothers, children and images of the Santo Niño will be blessed. (PNA)