The Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño in Manila’s Tondo district will be holding eight Masses on Sunday, January 17, to mark the annual “feast” of the Child Jesus.
The Masses will all be streamed live on the the shrine’s social media page.
Authorities reminded those who will physically attend the celebrations to wear face masks and face shield as part of safety and health protocols during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Francisco Domagoso of Manila has banned street parties, stage shows, parades, games, and other activities during the celebration.
He noted the need to “provide stringent guidelines and regulations” to avoid the spread of the disease.
He said big gatherings and other activities “can be surely an easy medium” of COVID-19 spread and transmission “thereby endangering the health, well-being and safety” of the public.
The Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño also said it is “concerned with the welfare of everyone.”
“We are one with the government in defeating and preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” it added in its statement.
The “feast” of the Santo Niño in Tondo is celebrated every third Sunday of January. It is known to have the biggest participation in Manila because of the many stories of “miracles” linked to the celebration.
In the past, the people of Tondo celebrated the “feast” with a fluvial procession that would attract thousands of visitors.
The image of the Child in the Santo Niño de Tondo parish, also known as Tondo church, is believed to have come from Acapulco, Mexico, and was handed over by a wealthy merchant to the archbishop of Manila during the Spanish colonial period.
The archbishop supposedly later turned the image over to the parish priest of Tondo, Manila.
Since 1572, the image of Santo Niño has been enshrined in this church, which is one of the most visited churches in the country.