This year, 2024, marks the 80th anniversary of the FIRST Traslacion of Senor Santo Nino kept in the Redemptorist Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Cebu, Philippines. In mid-September 1944, the original Holy Image of the Senor Santo Nino was quietly brought to the first small church of the Redemptorist Missionaries, dedicated to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This was to protect Senor Santo Nino from the bombings that were devastating the city center of Cebu. The small church was the public chapel located on the ground floor of the Redemptorist Monastery; the present big church was blessed in 1950. The Holy Image was quietly returned to the San Agustin Church (now a Basilica) in April 1945, after about seven months.
According to Fr. Arnel Antonio S. Dizon, OSA, the Traslacion is not just a devotional trip of the Holy Image from one parish to another. It is in fact a commemoration of the first trip of the Holy Image away from the Augustinian church to the Redemptorist church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. This was the first time that the original Holy Image left the San Agustin church since its enthronement in 1740. This is what he says in his article published in the FREEMAN on 12 April 2015, page 4:
The Traslacion is indeed a fervent remembrance retracing the precarious moment in history as the Santo Nino literally took shelter at the Redemptorist monastery. It is also a gracious occasion of eternal gratitude from a loving Son, Senor Santo Nino, to His Mother of Perpetual Help for her unconditional maternal care.
Some lay people suggest that the Senor Santo Nino visit annually Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church of the Redemptorist Missionaries. More so this year, 2024, as we remember the 80th anniversary of the FIRST Traslacion in 1944.
Contrary to some reports, the Holy Image was not kept in an underground bomb shelter of the Redemptorist Monastery; there was none! Rather, the Holy Image was placed inside a big steel safe which was fire-proof; which could also be considered bomb-proof. The steel safe was kept in the sacristy, behind the old small church. It was originally used to keep safe the chalices, monstrance and other sacred vessels. Above the said steel safe was an icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. Therefore, one could say that Mama Mary literally watched over Her Son Jesus. Her Son was a war refugee, a victim during the Second World War. May She also watch over all her children of whatever faith persuasion or none, who are victims of the war in Ukraine, in Palestine and Israel, in Africa and other parts of the world.
This historic steel safe can now be viewed inside the present big church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Redemptorist Parish, along Mango Avenue or General Maxillom.
Fr. Emy Maningo, CSSR.
(Redemptorist Province of Cebu)