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Santo Niño believers told: Focus on family, education

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Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma underscored the importance of family and education as he led the Catholic faithful during the Solemn Pontifical Mass in honor of Señor Santo Niño Minor Basilica of the Holy Child in Cebu City, Sunday, Jan. 21.

“It’s a treasure to emphasize family unity. I know for a fact that many of the parents believed in the importance of education. It’s important to send our children to school, but your teachings to your children at home is equally important,” Palma said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

The archbishop said he was happy to see children being brought by their parents to participate in the Fiesta Señor religious activities, saying “that’s the way we promote faith” to the youth.

Palma even noted that Cebu has been a melting pot for students from anywhere in the world, who come to get their college education in Asia’s cradle of Christianity.

“Thanks to the parents who encourage their children to get a good Christian education because they are our hope. Choosing the best education and they would grow in faith and wisdom through the grace of God,” he said.

The 73-year-old leader of the Archdiocese of Cebu’s 4.5 million Roman Catholics also recalled how the Cebuano families survived and recovered from the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that destroyed the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño’s belfry and leveled many churches in Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013.

A month later, families faced the devastating effects of Super Typhoon Yolanda. Most recently, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) claimed thousands of Cebuano lives.

Despite all the calamities that struck families, he said the Santo Niño blessed Cebu with big religious events with global impact, citing the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 and the Quincentennial of Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival that marked the 500th year of Christianity.

“Note that we celebrated here the first baptism and the first mass in the country. And that happened here in Cebu,” he added.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola and other priests concelebrated the Pontifical Mass. 

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