MANILA, Philippines — The Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban, home of the image that was said to have miraculously stopped an epidemic in the area in the late 19th century, has been elevated as an archdiocesan shrine during the new coronavirus pandemic.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on Friday reported that Palo, Leyte Archbishop John Du has formally elevated the status of the church on Tuesday, November 1, a move that would express “our special dedication that God has manifested His blessing to each and everyone of us through our devotion to the Senior Sto. Niño”.
“That is why this archdiocesan shrine may help us to be connected to the Señor Sto. Niño, the symbol of our faith and healing,” Du said during his homily last November 1. “May this shrine be a home of refuge for us when we are lost and when we feel hopeless.”
As an archdiocesan shrine, it is now a pilgrim Church for the devotees.
Every third Sunday of the month is declared as the pilgrim day, but the shrine remains open everyday for devotees who want to venerate the image, according to its management.
The parish established in 1770 by the Augustinian missionaries is home to the century-old image of the child Jesus that is revered and honored as the patron of Leyte province.
It was said that in 1889, the cholera epidemic affecting residents of Tacloban miraculously vanished when the image arrived at the Port of Tacloban in June 30,1889, after being lost in a sea mishap.
“Likewise, we believe that as Sto. Niño has been enshrined in Sto. Niño Tacloban, it will bring an end to this pandemic,” Du added.
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