Spanish Custom of the Santo Niño in Sacerdotal Vestments


The Spanish custom of the Santo Niño vested as a high priest in Spanish vestments is a tradition sometimes seen in Spain, Naples, the Philippines, and South America. The symbolism is poignant and speaks to the heart. 

Every priest receives his vocation to the priesthood at baptism from Christ and he acts in persona Christi, both priest and victim, uniting his entire life to Christ the Eternal Priest. We read in Hebrews 4:14: "Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession."

While not a very common tradition everywhere, the custom of this style statue dates back centuries (possibly the later Middle-Ages) and captures the imagination of the Christian faithful. In the sixteenth century Spanish missioners carried this devotion to the far reaches of the earth.  

Often these Spanish statues are bedecked in even more elaborate costume. In these two examples, the baby is vested in sacerdotal vestments in Roman style, drawing a parallel with Rome and the priestly vocation that is assigned at baptism and should be fostered from the youngest age. The Divine Christ Child is the font and example of all priestly graces and excellence. 

In Matthew 18:3 Christ said, "...Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." We therefore seek the faith of children and acknowledge the divinity of Christ and His sacerdotal character, as Priest, Prophet, and King. Let us pray vocations and for our priests!


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