CEBU City, Jan. 24, 2015 — The “Hubo” Mass is about “undressing”, yes, but one of a more sacred kind. The Hubo Mass is the annual tradition of changing the vestments of the image of the Sto. Niño which happens after the feast of the Holy Child in the Archdiocese of Cebu and which this year was held on Jan. 24.

Thousands of devotees, bringing with them images of the baby Jesus, gathered at the Sto. Niño Basilica Pilgrim Center yesterday to attend this year’s Mass and to witness the ritual.

Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, the Rector of the Basilica celebrates the "Hubo" Mass at the Sto. Niño Basilica Pilgrim Center on Jan. 23, 2015. (Photo: Emmanuel Ordo?a)

Fr. Jonas Mejares, OSA, the Rector of the Basilica, reminded the faithful that the tradition is not only about changing the clothes of the baby Jesus but about “understanding our baptism better” as each item being removed represents His suffering and eventual death.

After the homily, the Sto. Niño’s crown was removed, followed by the orb, the scepter and the armlet, the bands, cape, tunic, the inner garments and boots.

The naked image of the Sto. Niño was then immediately dipped in perfumed water. This water was then given to the faithful, as it is said to have cured sick devotees.

The Sto. Niño was dressed up again while prayers were recited.

This ritual of vesting the Niño marks the end of the Sinulog season, and signals the preparation for the coming Lenten season. The Holy Mass was broadcast live over DYRF-Cebu, the official radio station of the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) 2016. (Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD/CBCPNews)