St Arnold Janssen & Sto Nino

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The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr. Sonny de Rivera, SVD — Rome, Italy

Feast of Sto Nino / Proper to the Philippines

Photo: Basilica Minori del Sto Nino

Saint Arnold Janssen, whose feast we also celebrate today, had the pious tradition to process the image of the Baby Jesus throughout Christmas time. He would put out the lights in the chapel and alone in the evening, he would walk up and down with the image in his arms, praying and meditating. He is overwhelmed by the love of the Word Incarnate. He cradled in his arms the Baby Jesus. That gesture reflected his responsibility to assure that the three Congregations he had founded work and evangelize in the spirit of communion and solidarity.

This celebration of the Santo Niño comes when the planet earth continues to tread uncertain moments and uncertain times. We are constantly faced with the concern, “And now what is next.” More than ever, this is when we become children once again, like Jesus. We need the humility to realize that we are nothing before God, and he is the answer to all our concerns and queries in life. We need to put on the vest of unending trust that whatever and wherever we are, God will cradle us into his arms, reassuring us that he is there for us.

Let this feast of the Santo Niño be a renewal in getting to know Jesus and getting to know ourselves. Are we ready to turn and become like children? Are we willing to humble ourselves in a childlike spirit? Are we always prepared to receive a child representing those in need, suffering, unwanted, and uncared for?

The Sto. Niño challenges all of us to care for one another. Our devotion to the image of the baby Jesus leads us to put words into action. We are being led to do something concrete. We are called to stamp the love of Jesus to those who are longing for him. 

Arnold Janssen continued searching for God’s will with childlike confidence in divine providence. Throughout his life, he journeyed with the image of the Baby Jesus, allowing his missionary journey to be permeated by the trust, humility, and unconditional dependence of a child. 

The procession of the Baby Jesus during Christmastime continues to this day in the three congregations founded by Arnold. The Arnoldus Family wholeheartedly embraces the devotion to the Santo Niño. Viva el Santo Niño.

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