Niño visit in hospitals touches patients, staff
CEBU, Philippines — The visit of the Santo Niño image to government-run hospitals has touched the heart of patients and hospital personnel.
Organizers have witnessed the warm welcome and heartfelt response from people upon seeing the image.
Dr. Gerardo Aquino, Jr., chief of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center – one of the biggest medical facilities in Cebu that caters to indigent patients – said many are already asking that the visit should be done yearly.
He said he received several positive feedbacks from the hospital personnel from words of gratitude to requests of the establishment of a yearly pilgrimage.
He added doctors and other staff relayed that patients were very much elated and surprised of the visit and they felt privileged to see the image of the Holy Child.
The pilgrimage to government-run hospitals, particularly VSMMC and Cebu City Medical Center, began in 2017. This was initiated jointly by the Cebu City government and the Augustinian fathers in Cebu who are spearheading the yearly Fiesta Señor.
The religious community supported the cause since they also wanted to propagate the devotion to the Holy Child even beyond the borders of the Basilica such as hospitals and jail facilities – where people could hardly pay homage to the Holy image because of their conditions.
This year, the image is set to visit an addition of two private hospitals.
The city government through Councilor David Tumulak leads the five-day pilgrimage.
City hospitals like CCMC, VSMMC, Cebu Doctor’s Hospital and Chong Hua Hospital will be visited during the first five days and the pilgrim image will have its last stop at the Cebu City Jail on January 8.
The image had an overnight stay over the weekend at VSMMC. It left the hospital Sunday afternoon and was then transferred to Cebu Doctor’s Hospital.
Taking charge of the turnover yesterday, Fr. Pacifico Nohara, Jr., rector of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, agreed that making the activity yearly is a wonderful idea. — John Kendrick P. Ceciban (FREEMAN)