A POPULAR DEVOTION TO STO.NIÑO
On April 28, 1565, Juan Camus, a sailor in the fleet of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, found in a modest house of the then village of Cebu the image of the Santo Niño, which at the time all agreed had been brought from Europe. Deeply impressed by this finding and aware of its significance, Legaspi ordered an official inquiry conducted; the document drawn on May 16 of the same year and still extant in the archives of the Santo Nino Convent of Cebu, tells us from the testimony of eyewitnesses that the Image was found inside a small pine box, preserved in almost perfect condition; it had on a little shirt and cap; two of its right hand's fingers were raised in a gesture of blessing, while the left hand held a globe symbolizing the world. In a solemn procession the image was carried to the provisional Church the Agustinian Fathers were using at the time; later, another Church was built on the exact location where the image has been found; this is the site of the Santo Niño Church where the Agustinians have cared for the image and the Filipino people have venerated it through the centuries. An earlier authenticated entry in the journal of Pigafetta, clerk in the Magellan expedition, explains the original of Santo Niño; on the day Queen Juana was baptized by Father Pedro Valderrama, chaplain on that expedition, Pigafetta himself presented her with the Image. During the last World War, a bomb fell inside the church, but the image was found unscathed. It was one of the numberless miracles and powers attributed to the Holy Image. In 1965 the interior of the historic church was renovated for the observance of the Fourth Centennial of the Christianization of the Philippines held in Cebu City. It was during this centennial celebration that the church, on April 1, 1965, was elevated to the rank of Basilica Minore by the Sacred Congregation of Rites with all the rights and privileges accruing to such...
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