Santo Nino festival celebrated in Smithton, Devonport and Bridgewater

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Home > Media > News > Santo Nino festival celebrated in Smithton, Devonport and Bridgewater
Santo Nino festival celebrated in Smithton, Devonport and Bridgewater

Parishes around Tasmania celebrated the annual Filipino festival of the Senor Santo Nino, or Child Jesus, in January.

Traditionally celebrated in the city of Cebu, the Philippines, St Paul’s Catholic Church in Bridgewater held the festival on January 21 and attracted nearly 200 visitors and participants.

Following Sunday Mass, a statue of the Santo Nino was processed through the church grounds. The Santo Nino was then blessed by Parish Administrator Fr Leo Zenarosa before some of the faithful approached the statue to pray.

A Filipino-style lunch was followed by singing and performances of cultural dances known as ‘Sinulog’.

Fr Zenarosa – who was ordained in Cebu – says that he hopes the festival provided a boost for the faith of those who attended.

“Some people are going to dance: they dance for Jesus, to honour Jesus. I keep telling the people, ‘This is not an ordinary celebration. This is not a matter of eating, drinking and chatting … Through this devotion, we will come closer to God and we will be united in one heart and mind.’”

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Devonport also held Santo Nino celebrations on January 21.

Event organiser Hermie Lim says that the dancing of Sinulog was “a way of praying through dance”.

She says that the Santo Nino played an important role in Christianising the Philippines.

“We’ve had so many miracles happen through Him,” she said.

St Peter Chanel Catholic Church held Smithton’s first ever Santo Nino festival on January 28, which involved a procession to the church followed by Sunday Mass.

Parish Administrator Fr Alex Obiorah joined in the procession by playing a drum.

During the Mass, offerings of vegetables, fruit and cakes were brought forward as a thanksgiving to God.

Event organiser Merma Kelly says that thanksgiving is an important part of the celebrations.

“We are thankful to the Lord, to the Infant Jesus, for a good harvest, for a good life,” she said.

In the Philippines, these offerings are then traditionally distributed to the poor following Mass. In Smithton, the tinned goods were donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society while the fresh produce was gifted to Fr Obiorah.

“It was touching for the people who hadn’t witnessed anything like that,” said Mrs Kelly.