Published March 11, 2004
About 500 Filipino-American Catholics joyously celebrated the feast of the Little Infant Jesus (Señor Santo Niño) on Jan. 17 at Corpus Christi Church.
The spirit was festive as Filipinos came from throughout Georgia to be spiritually renewed in their devotion to the Child Jesus, and to seek the Lord’s blessing for themselves and their families for 2004.
This is a time for participants to reconnect with one another, to show their solidarity and to share Filipino spirituality and community spirit with their American friends, neighbors and other visitors. United by a common religious bond and by their loyalty to their traditions, the celebration is an opportunity to increase understanding of Filipino identity.
This year for the first time “sinulog” step dances were performed by several Filipinas. This form of worship of the Child Jesus is a humble expression of their unwavering devotion to the Son of God and their gratitude to God.
The celebration began with a novena and prayers in honor of the Infant Jesus followed by the rosary. Father Mansueto “Chito” Palang, parochial vicar at St. Monica Church, Duluth, celebrated the Mass, assisted by Rev. Mr. Diosmar Natad, who will be ordained to the priesthood June 5. The liturgy, primarily in English with Filipino songs, was filled with God’s presence, the power of the Spirit touching the hearts of the devotees and the love of the Virgin Mary.
Before Mass concluded, Father Palang blessed all the statues and religious articles brought up by the faithful. This was followed by the solemn procession of the image of the Child Jesus around the church grounds. The procession ended at the parish gym where the spiritual aspect ended with the praying of another rosary and singing of the “Ave Maria.”
At a social afterwards, there were native foods prepared by families, games and singing of native and American songs.