Like other immigrant communities in Canada, Filipinos are far from being a homogenous group.
There is a lot of diversity in the community on many levels.
Whether one looks at it from the perspective of class, place of origin, political leanings, pastimes, and the like, it’s a medley that makes the Filipino experience a captivating narrative.
Although there are a lot of differences that sometimes rise into the open, it is also true that there are many things that unify Filipinos.
One of these is faith in the Almighty, as expressed mainly through the dominant Roman Catholic religion in and outside the Philippines.
Here’s an example in British Columbia.
In the summer of 2021, the St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the town of Agassiz announced a campaign to raise funds for the construction of a shrine for the Sto. Niño (Holy Child) on its grounds.
The shrine is meant to be a gift to the Archdiocese of Vancouver in commemoration of the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
“The Holy image of Sto. Niño is the oldest Christian artifact in the Philippines, originally a gift from Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Humabon and his chief consort on account of their baptism in 1521,” the parish stated in its announcement.
“The dark wood statue measures approximately twelve inches tall and is carved in the Flemish style. The image is replicated in various parts of the country with different titles and is one of the most beloved and recognizable Filipino cultural icons. Miracles wrought by the power of the Santo Niño are considered undeniable, and we are excited to bring this blessing to our community in Agassiz, where the image of Sto. Niῆo will be enthroned on the site of the parish of St. Anthony of Padua.”
The parish’s pastor is Father Dennis Flores, originally from Cebu, home of the original Santo Niño in the Philippines.
As Canadian Filipino Net has gathered, the response from the Filipino community has been overwhelming.
Donations have been pouring in. The campaign to raise $450,000, which is the projected cost of constructing a shrine, is close to its target.
On May 8 this year, groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish.
A fundraising gala is also set at Vancouver’s Fraserview Banquet Hall (8240 Fraser Street) on June 5.
The shrine is expected to be inaugurated in August this year.
June is Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, and experiences like this one about how the Filipino community has responded enthusiastically to the Santo Niño shrine project are worthy of attention during this year’s celebration.
For the Canadian Filipino Net Editorial Board