Moved by the Groove (photo credit))

Despite the 15 years that I lived in Cebu, I never danced to worship the Santo Nino. It was more a cultural, fun thing to do to dance during the Sinulog for me in my younger years. But that all changed in 2010.

On the last night of the nine-day Novena to the Senyor Santo Nino (Holy Child Jesus) and I arrived home a bit sleepy, a bit hungry, a bit tired physically, but my soul had been revitalised. All the years I lived with my family in Pandacan, where the Feast of the Santo Nino is also celebrated annually, I never got to complete the 9-day novena. Nor was I able to do so when I lived in Cebu. But for nine days in 2010, I consistently attended and participated in the Novena and Mass held at the Good Shepherd Parish in Balmoral, Auckland.
On the first day, I read the introduction to the liturgical dance and my family and I offered the bread and wine. We only watched, however, the devotees light candles, wave with their white handkerchiefs, and praise dance.
The second day, I joined the lighting of the candles. When the people danced to praise the Santo Nino after the Mass, a part of me wanted to join in, but I was embarrassed to. The following day, though, I decided to put my concerns aside and praise-danced along with the other devotees. Upon research, I found out that the waiving of hands with hankies to the Santo Nino whilst singing the Gozos (Bato Balani sa Gugma song), was meant to receive blessings from the Holy Child. So that day, I waived my hand and sang along, too.
Since then, I’ve become a full-fledged devotee of the Santo Nino, moved by the devotion of fellow Filipino migrants here in Auckland; by the passion of Filipino priests who waive and praise dance, too; by the child like faith everyone has in the Holy Child worshipped and prayed to in the form of dance.
Although I am grateful to Senyor Santo Nino for helping me get a good full time job soon after Sinulog 2010, the true blessing I received was that He has entered my heart and touched my soul.
Cherry Thelmo-Fernandez
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