100-day countdown for 500 Years of Christianity starts
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Aside from the Fiesta Señor, Catholic faithful here in Cebu have another religious milestone to look forward to this year.
Church leaders and officials from the city government led the ceremonial unveiling of the 100-day countdown marker for the 500 Years of Christianity at Magellan’s Cross in downtown Cebu City on Monday, January 4.
The electronic countdown board was placed right beside the chapel that houses Magellan’s Cross, the Christian cross planted in Cebu during the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.
In attendance were Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Vice Mayor Michael Rama, Councilors Joel Garganera, Edu Rama, Dondon Hontiveros, Dave Tumulak, Jerry Guardo, and representatives from the city’s Cultural Heritage and Affairs Commission (CHAC).
Also present were Augustinian friars from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, led by its rector, Fr. Pacifico Nohara Jr. The Basilica is expected to start the activities for the Fiesta Señor this Friday, January 8.
Palma, in a brief speech, said the celebration for the quincentenary of Christianity in Cebu is a blessing.
“Why is it important to look back to 500 years ago. Because it is kairos. It is God’s time. It is filled with blessings. And today, as Cebuanos, we count the blessings despite the many concerns we have of the past 500 years,” said Palma.
The Philippines will be commemorating the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity this 2021 as well as the quincentenary celebration of the historic Battle of Mactan and the first circumnavigation expedition.
On April 14, the Archdiocese of Cebu is expected to lead the quincentenary celebration for the first baptism while the commemoration of the first Mass will be in Limasawa Island as per recommendation from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Last September, the Roman Catholic church has started the online 200-day countdown leading to the event.
Palma also encouraged devotees on Monday not to lose hope and their faith amid the challenges the public is facing.
“We are looking back in the past for thanksgiving and we will look forward with hope. There is COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), yes, but COVID does not paralyze us,” he said. /dbs
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