On Saturday we will celebrate Divino Niño Day here in Hanceville, AL with our community and all who wish to join us at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament. This is a very special celebration for our Friars because Divino Niño is the reason we have our incredible Shrine.
In 1914, a Salesian priest, Fr. John Rizzo, felt a call to build a church for the people of Barranquilla, Colombia. His Superior instructed him to seek donations to fund the project, but most people in the town lived in immense poverty. After his first attempt to collect money, Fr. Rizzo came home empty handed.
The next day before he set out to gather donations, he knelt before a statue of Our Blessed Mother to pray. When he looked up, he noticed the Divine Infant Jesus in His Mother’s arms. At that moment, Fr. Rizzo committed his life and efforts to the Divine Infant, Divino Niño.
Not only did Fr. Rizzo succeed in raising money for a church to be built in Barranquilla, but he was also able to build another church when he was transferred to an impoverished section of Bogota a few years later. Fr. Rizzo placed an antique statue that he had found of the Child Jesus which read “Yo Reinare” (I will reign) in the church. He preached to the people about the miracles of the Divine Infant and encouraged them to have a special devotion to the Child Jesus. Many began to flock to the church because of the miracles that people were experiencing, all due to the devotion of the Divine Infant.
Why is this significant to the EWTN Friars? Our own Mother Angelica experienced a miracle at the Sanctuary of the Divine Infant Jesus in Bogota when she attended Mass there in 1995. While she was praying before the statue, she heard the voice of a young boy speak to her, “Build Me a Temple and I will help those who help you.”
As tears ran down her face, Mother Angelica quickly changed the plans she had in place to build a small, farm chapel. Instead, she arranged for a “temple” to be built, which resulted in the beautiful Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament that we have today in Hanceville. Of course, there is a statue of the Divine Infant Jesus for all to see. Mother Angelica’s love for the Divino Niño continued throughout her life and she frequently sought His intercession. In this, we follow her example!
Listen to Mother Angelica talk more about her incredible experience: