As Cebu marks seven jubilees in 2015, plus the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma considers the new year a time of “special thanksgiving to God.”
Also, 2015 is the final year of preparation for the 51th International Eucharistic Congress which will be held in Cebu City in January 2016, so Palma said the year is also a time for hardwork.
“Let us pray and work hard with the help of Divine Grace that on the forthcoming 51th International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, the sun of the Eucharist may spread its rays abroad even brighter, not only taking possession once more of our Islands but of the whole world,” Palma stated in his New Year’s message.
He noted that 2015 is the 450th anniversary of the Christianization of the Philippines, the 450th anniversary of the finding of the miraculous image of the Santo Niño, and the 450th anniversary of the arrival of the first Augustinian missionaries in Cebu.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the pontifical coronation of the Santo Niño, the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Santo Niño church as a Basilica Minore, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Mission Society of the Philippines as a fruit of the 4th Centennial; and the 50th anniversary of the historic 3rd National Eucharistic Congress in Cebu.
“All these events happened in Cebu because it is the cradle of Christianity in the Far East,” Palma stated.
He quoted Ildebrando Cardinal Antoniutti, Papal Legate of then Pope Paul VI , who stated during the 4th Christianization Centennial in 1965 which was highlighted by the 3rd National Eucharistic Congress in Cebu: “It was by contact with the Blessed Eucharist that your country began its Catholic history, and was immediately influenced in its civil organizations. In an atmosphere of incomparable mysticism, in this very place, the first Mass was celebrated, and marked the blessed beginning of the new religious life of an entire people. From this beach, the sun of the Eucharist spread its rays abroad, gradually taking possession of all the Islands which, illuminated by Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, were converted to the Catholic faith.”