Sagrada Familia. A depiction of the Holy family during the birth of Christ.AN EXHIBIT at the Santisimo Rosario Parish is seeking to promote family unity with images of the Holy Family.

Titled “Jesus, Maria y Josep,” the exhibit is a visual reminder of the values of love, filial respect, belongingness, and harmony in the home, as well as childlike values like piety and humility. The exhibit, which runs until the end of January, is also a celebration of the feasts of the Holy Family and the Sto. Niño.

“This is to remind the obligation of parents and their children to each other,” said Fr. Franklin Beltran, O.P., project chair and parish priest of the Santisimo Rosario Parish. “Also, not only the parishioners will be aware [of the Feast of Sto. Niño], but also the student body,” he added.

On exhibit are various images and paintings of the Sagrada Familia, as well as icons of the Sto. Niño. The highlights are Peruvian Cusco paintings, known for their intricate designs and religious themes, and images of Sto. Niño unveiled to the public for the first time.

Production designer and College of Fine Arts and Design alumnus Rei Nicolas was the curator of the exhibit.

Model of all families

The feast of the Holy Family, celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas, is a liturgical celebration upholding Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the model for all Christian families.

“Jesus as God became obedient to his parents,” Beltran said. “And because He is God, He became obedient to His creatures — His parents, and that, we should emulate,” he added.

This celebration became popular in the 17th century as a way to promote the value of family. It has also become a form of popular.

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The Cusco paintings depicted family values in remarkable oil canvas strokes. One shows the Holy Family ornamented with brocade and shiny bronze leaves in an afternoon walk amid green trees and ornaments. A young Jesus walks hand-in-hand with his mother, while his father walks behind him.

Another Cusco painting portrays Jesus, Mary, and Joseph dressed in golden robes and crowned with golden halos. Above the child Jesus is a dove representing the Holy Spirit, and above them is the bearded God raising his hands as a sign of blessing.

Aside from the paintings, ivory pieces were also displayed, one of which is the Sagrada Familia portrayed as a royal family with Mary and Joseph carrying the baby Jesus, all in gold-embroidered vestments.

Spectrum of icons

Suffering and redemption. A non-traditional  version of the Sto. Niño as displayed in Santisimo Rosario for the  feast of the Child Jesus.For Filipino Catholics, the feast of the Sto. Niño is not only a religious tradition but a cultural and colorful festivity as well.

According to Beltran, the feast of Sto. Niño started with the tribe of Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, which came down to the lowlands and danced in gratitude to God for a good harvest.

In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan gave the image of the Sto. Niño as a gift to the wife of Rajah Humabon, newly baptized Catholic and King of Cebu.

“From then on, different images of the little Jesus started to spread to propagate devotion to him,” said Beltran.

Some of the icons displayed in the exhibit were the Sto. Niño de la Paloma, La Salvacion de los Niños, and Sto. Niño de la Abundancia. Sto. Niño de Pasion shows Jesus dressed in simple cloth unlike other images. He looks above holding a cross close to his heart, representing Jesus as a young boy foreseeing his death on the cross.

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One of the outstanding pieces is the lesser-known version of the same title. The almost naked baby Jesus is lying on the cross and resting his head on a skull, signifying redemption amid human suffering.

Many of the oldest images of the Sto. Niño in the country portray the child as King with a royal crown, gilded vestments, a baton of authority, and the orb. However, the Rex Innocentiae presents Jesus as a simple King not clad in an extravagant robe but naked, to symbolize the young Jesus as an innocent King.

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