MANILA, August 27, 2014—In what devotees expect to be a ceremonious homecoming, the Basilica Minore de San Sebastián de Manila announces the return of the image of the “Holy Child of Jesus” on September 6, Saturday, following the mass at 6:00 p.m.
Devotee Terry G. García shared via social media site Facebook that the Santo Niño in the custody of the Museo Recoletos in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, will be enthroned at the altar occupied by Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, the “Patron of Holy Souls”.
According to Kevino de Guzman, another devotee, the latter image will be brought back to the pantheon of the “Old Families of Quiapo” posted behind the ossuary behind the sacristy of San Sebastian.
This Santo Niño of San Sebastián Church, which the Manila gentry affectionately called “Santo Niño, El Capitán General de Filipinas” (Holy Child, Captain General of the Philippines), was brought over from Spain in 1606.
García says the image of the Holy Child enjoyed so prestigious a veneration that Spanish colonial authorities in Madrid deemed it necessary to grant it the title “Capitán General de Filipinas”.
The honors traditionally accorded to a Spanish viceroy (“vice-king”), including a salute by cannons, were given by devotees whenever the “Little Captain General” of Manila appeared in public.
The image is still the original, clothed in the official regalia of a Philippine governor general of the 1800s, with a tricorne hat, frock coat, sash, pantaloons, and boots similar to those worn by the French Emperor Napoleon. (Raymond A. Sebastián)