Catholic Free Press

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  • Sep
  • 27

Novena-goers pray to Divino Niño Jesús

Posted By September 27, 2013 | 11:23 am | Lead Story #2
Photo by Tanya Conor
Father Edwin Montaña, associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Fitchburg, blesses novena participants’ statues and other holy images. Accompanying him are Deacon Francisco Escobar and one of the altar servers.
Photo by Tanya Conor Father Edwin Montaña, associate pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Fitchburg, blesses novena participants’ statues and other holy images. Accompanying him are Deacon Francisco Escobar and one of the altar servers.

By Tanya Connor

A popular Hispanic devotion provided an opportunity to focus on the Year of Faith, the new evangelization and immigration reform the last two weeks.
Preachers for the Novena al Divino Niño Jesús (Divine Child), held at St. Paul Cathedral for the second consecutive year, encouraged participants to urge legislators to pass a law to help undocumented people, because some of their families are separated, said Deacon Francisco Escobar, who ministers there.
But he said the basic message of the Sept. 16-24 novena was: “We have to have a deep faith, especially today.” He spoke of the importance of returning to basics at a time when youth don’t know the main prayers.
This devotion sprang from the ministry of an Italian priest serving in Bogotá, Colombia, in the 20th century, and miracles attributed to the Divine Child there, Deacon Escobar said. He said it is a big devotion in different countries now, and drew about 250 people from around the Diocese to St. Paul’s each night.
Coordinated by St. Paul’s charismatic renewal group and Holy Name Society, it was held in September because that was the best time for people, Deacon Escobar said.
“Every night we read a testimony – what Little Jesus is doing” during the novena, he said.
He told The Catholic Free Press the following story, which his wife, Fanny Escobar, shared at Tuesday’s Mass on behalf of another woman. The woman called the dentist about an unexpected bill she couldn’t afford to pay and was told she owed it. After praying to the Divine Child, she called back, and learned the bill was a mistake.
“He does miracles for us and we have strong faith in him,” Tanya Gomez, of St. Paul’s, said of the Divine Child, as she and family members gathered their statues after Mass.
Participants had brought their own statues of the Divine Child, and some other holy images, to be blessed Tuesday. There had also been novena prayers, the waving of white napkins to welcome the Divine Child and the opportunity to go to confession. Mass was followed by a reception with the traditional hot chocolate, bread and cheese.
“Yo tengo una fe absoluta” in El Niño Jesús, said Ms. Gomez’ mother, Gladys Morales.
Ms. Gomez said she was hospitalized for nine days, and her mother prayed she’d be discharged Monday. She was, and attended the novena Monday and Tuesday, she said. She said she’s recovering slowly; at least she doesn’t have to be in the hospital.
“Thank the Lord,” she said.
She said she just started participating in the devotion, but her mother and her mother’s aunt, Olga Morales, who was with them, have been “more with Christ.”
Guadalupe Dominquez and her daughter, Mariela Miron, said it’s very important to grow in faith and that a prayer for help they prayed on the way to the novena was answered.
Speaking in Spanish, Odilia Alvarado, of St. Paul’s, described the novena as beautiful, a time of joy and much faith.
Iris Gotay, also from St. Paul’s, said she believes in the Divine Child because all the times she asked a favor, she got the answer.