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Palma to Catholics: Take part in quincentennial activities

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | December 01,2019 - 11:09 AM

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma (4th from right) leads the unveiling of the clock to mark the official start of the 500-day countdown to the quincentennial anniversary of the first baptism on April 14, 2021. (Gerard Francisco)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma this morning, December 1, 2019, urged Catholics to take part in activities leading to the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the archdiocese.

He delivered his message during the homily of a Mass which kicked off with the 500-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the first baptism, which the prelate referred to as the “official welcoming of Christ in our hearts.”

“Kung buot hunahunaon, ang bunyag maoy unang sacramento nga gibuksan nato ang atong kasing-kasing diha sa Ginoo. It is the sacrament of faith. Dili kita makadawat sa uban nga sakramento kung dili kita  mabunyagan mao nga dako kaayo ang iyang significance sa atong kinabuhi,” Palma added in an interview.

(If we come to think of it, baptism was the first sacrament that we received when we opened our hearts to God. It is the sacrament of faith. We can’t receive the other sacraments if we have not been baptized that is why baptism plays a very significant role in our lives.)

Queen Juana and King Humabon (baptized as Carlos) of Cebu were among the first natives to receive the sacrament of baptism when the fleet of Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the shores of Cebu on April 14, 1521.

The Señor Santo Niño, the oldest Catholic image in the country, was then given by Magellan to Juana as a gift.

In his homily, Palma said that Cebu will play a significant role in the quincentennial celebration since the first baptism will serve as the “climax” of the series of activities lined up for the occasion.

While the Catholic Church prepare for the quincentennial celebration in 2021, Palma said that Christian communities must take part in the preparatory activities rather than just wait for the activities to unfold before them.

The preparatory activities include the conduct of formation seminars or Jubilees participants by the different sectors and the pilgrimage of the replica of Magellan’s cross and the image of the Holy Child to the different parishes in Cebu and the entire country.

The replica of Magellan’s cross and the image of the Señor Santo Niño were sent off this morning, December 1, 2019, for a their year-long pilgrimage to the different churches in the country in preparation for the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity on April 2021. | Gerard Vincent Francisco

The kick-off Mass that was held this morning in front of the Magellan’s cross marker also marked the send-off of the Jubilee Cross, a replica of the cross which Magellan brought during his voyage, and the original image of the Santo Niño that will visit different parishes nationwide.

At least 2,500 Cebuanos that included Cebu City government officials led by Mayor Edgardo Labella attended the 6 a.m. kick-off Mass.

At least 2,500 Cebuanos attended the Holy Mass which marked the start of the 500-days countdown to the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the country. | Gerard Francisco

Police Major Joemar Pomarejos, chief of the Waterfront Police Station, said the observance of the Mass was peaceful with no reported incidence despite the presence of a huge crowd.

At least 60 police personnel were deployed in the vicinity of the Basilica and the Cebu City Hall during the duration of the Mass.

Last November 13, the Augustinian priests also kicked off their 500-day countdown for the quincentennial activities. The Order of Saint Augustine (OSA), the caretakers of the original Santo Niño image, centers their celebration on the arrival of the image of the Holy Child.

On the government’s side, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, through the National Quincentennial Commission (NQC), focuses their preparations on the historic event that surround the first circumnavigation of the world.

The NQC highlights the Battle of Mactan which is the first victory of the Filipinos who resisted the foreign rule. / dcb

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