THE Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño stands as the bastion of the Cebuano faith for centuries.

It has seen wars and has felt peace; it has withstood earthquakes and has shun storms.

The community’s faith is always intertwined with the Basilica’s physical history and spiritual meaning.

The church in downtown Cebu City is also the sanctuary of the faithful’s prayers.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the city in the middle of March 2020, the Basilica became empty of churchgoers as the government implemented restrictions on mass gathering in public places, including churches, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Only in the latter part of 2020 when the transmission slowed down, authorities allowed churches to hold masses on a limited audience.

Amid the ongoing health crisis, the Basilica, with or without the presence of worshippers, is still the center of Cebu faithful’s optimism.

This Cebuano optimism was on full display in the first day of the novena masses for the Fiesta Señor on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021—a sizable number of devotees of Sto. Niño gathered in and outside the Basilica.

The threat of the Covid-19 pandemic failed to stop a number of devotees from going to the Basilica; however, images showed that their devotion to the Holy Child did not make them reckless—they wore masks and face shields and observed social distancing.

In faith, nothing is impossible—

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