31 May 2022 – The Philippine Consulate General in Barcelona as part of its cultural diplomacy program opened to the general public the Santo Nino Exhibit on 06 March 2022. After three months, the successful exhibit ended on 31 May 2022. The well-attended cultural activity was visited onsite by almost 3,000 individuals, and about 8,000 more seeing it online through vlogs and social media posts.
The visitors to the exhibit were Filipino residents not only from Spain but also those based in other countries. Guests of different nationalities, as well as Spaniards from the religious, academe and government sectors, also expressed their appreciation for the exhibit that showcased Philippine culture and tradition. Numerous individuals, particularly devotees, have also made it their vow to visit and venerate the Santo Niño several times, with some visiting on a weekly basis. Needless to say, the most emotional visits occurred when Filipino families visited and prayed together as a family.
The three-month long activity has effectively provided the impetus in which second and third-generation Filipino children who accompanied their parents to the exhibit, were exposed to Philippine history, geography, culture and tradition. Likewise, the cultural enlightenment generated by the exhibit also resulted in numerous inquiries from Spanish nationals who indicated their strong interest in visiting the Philippines for tourism purposes.
The closing ceremony commenced with the message of Philippine Consul General to Barcelona Maria Theresa S.M. Lazaro. “The Santo Niño exhibit has been visited and seen by several thousands of people whose lives have been touched by His miracles. As we close the exhibit, we hope the Santo Niño will continue to guide and bless the communities which will be his temporary abode-as He has ours” said Consul General Lazaro in her welcome message.
In a befitting gesture, Rector Josef Maria Turull of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, who was instrumental in the presentation ceremony of the Santo Niño at the Sagrada Familia in December 2021, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. “As rector of the Sagrada Familia, I would like to thank the Philippine Consulate General, headed by Consul General Lazaro, for the trust to make the Sagrada Familia the center of celebrations commemorating the arrival of the Santo Niño and the Magellan’s Cross to the Philippine 500 years ago” intimated Rector Turull in his special message during the ceremony.
After the closing ceremony, the replicas of the Santo Nino statues were symbolically turned over to representatives of various parishes located in the Raval District in Barcelona, where a considerable number of Filipino nationals and the international community attend mass.
A reception followed the turnover ceremony. Santo Niño related items were given away to the guests as souvenirs.
The ceremony, which also featured a heartwarming rendition of religious songs from the Filipino Community Parish Choir, was attended by the members of the Consular Corps in Barcelona, Filipino religious, representatives from various sectors of the Government of Catalunya, the Filipino community based in Catalunya and Valencia and visitors from Germany.
Consul General Maria Theresa S.M. Lazaro delivering her welcome message
Rector of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia Reverend Father Josep Maria Turull i Garriga addressing the attendees of the ceremony
Members of the Consular Corps, religious community, Spanish officials and the Filipino community who attended the ceremony
Filipino Community Parish Choir rendering a heartwarming religious hymn
Parish priest of the Parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepcion y San Lorenzo Ruiz Father Francis de Guzman accepting the Santo Nino de Ternate in His temporary home at the San Agustin Church
Father Marlon Perdomo accepting the Santo Niño de Tondo on behalf Parroquia de la Mare de Deu de Betlem