Exterior and interior of the beautiful Santo Niño Basilica.
ALL: ARTURO BAZAN/SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC VOICE
Rev. Alexander Q. Castillo
January 26, 2016
Sacred moments, sacred spaces
The delegates of the Diocese of Oakland had an amazing day. We had the privilege to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with our bishop, Michael C. Barber, SJ, at the Santo Niño Basilica, a very rare opportunity that was only possible because of the hard work of Revs.Ramon Gomez, Eddie Castañas and Ken Sales. I think we were the only delegation who had this opportunity.
The Santo Niño Basilica is the most holy place in Cebu. It was founded in the 16th Century and it is the pilgrimage destination par excellence in the Philippines. I am almost sure that there is a Santo Niño statue in the house of every Filipino in the world.
The faith and devotion in the basilica were overwhelming. The joy of the faithful, and especially of the Oakland pilgrims, is indescribable.
In his homily, Bishop Barber talked about sacred moments and sacred places. There are some concrete moments in our lives in which God intervenes, he said. With the Sacraments, for example. God changed your life the day you were baptized. Your whole existence was brought closer to heaven the day you received the Eucharist for the first time, as well every time you receive the Lord in the Holy Sacrament. There are also other sacred moments in our lives … the birth or a child, the death of somebody we love.
And God also manifests his presence in sacred places, like this wonderful basilica. And the bishop said: “we have come to this place that unites heaven and earth, to celebrate the mysteries of our faith, to live the Holy Sacrifice of the altar, and to thank the Lord for his presence in our lives.”
A “once in your life time” experience … that will remain in our hearts for all eternity.
Maraming Salamat po.
— Rev. Alexander Castillo
Special to The Catholic Voice
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