No more than 10 bishops to attend baptism reenactment in Cebu 

By: Morexette Marie Erram - CDN Digital | April 12,2021 - 01:39 PM

Most Rev. Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili on Monday, April 12, 2021, said around four to five Catholic bishops, including CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romullo Valles, decided to turn down the invites to attend the ceremonial reenactment of the first baptism this Apr. 14 for the 500 YOC. CDN Digital photo | Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines—No more than 10 bishops, including the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, will be attending the ceremonial reenactment of the first baptism in Cebu this Wednesday, April 14, 2021, church officials announced. 

Organizers of the event commemorating the quincentennial anniversary of the first baptism that took place in the country, confirmed on Monday, April 12, that around four to five bishops changed their minds in attending the ceremony. 

Among them was the president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, said Rev. Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili. 

“We have around four to five bishops that have already begged off. So we’re only expecting no more than 10 bishops to fly here to Cebu,” said Balili, the secretary-general of the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) celebrations in Cebu. 

He added that CBCP will be represented by Msgr. Bernie Pantin. 

Balili said church leaders declined in the last minute the invitations sent to them for this Wednesday’s activities due to prevailing COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Initially they accepted our invitations but due to the pandemic and restrictions, especially those from NCR (National Capital Region), they cancelled in the last minute,” explained Balili in Cebuano. 

In the meantime, the Archdiocese of Cebu confirmed that Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown will be in Cebu this April 14. 

“The Papal Nuncio is expected to arrive at 1:30 p.m. (on April 14) and will be staying here in Cebu overnight before he will be returning to Metro Manila,” Balili said.

The Papal Nuncio will not only be attending the reenactment ceremony but is also the celebrant of the Pontifical Mass which will be held right beside Magellan’s Cross at the Plaza Sugbo in downtown Cebu City. 

Read: Cebuano songs to be featured in Papal Mass for 500YOC

Local and national government officials allowed the Roman Catholic church here to push through with the 500 YOC celebrations but subject to health protocols as threats of COVID-19 continue to rage on.

These included capping the maximum number of attendees for this Wednesday’s ceremonial reenactment at Plaza Sugbo to 700.

The venue has the capacity to accommodate 3,000 people. 

The general public is not also allowed to physically attend the event, and were advised not to go to downtown Cebu City this Wednesday as police will be closing all roads leading to Plaza Sugbo.

Read: Gov’t rules: Only 700 allowed to physically witness First Baptism reenactment


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TAGS: 500 years of Christianity, Archbishop Charles Brown, Archdiocese of Cebu, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, CBCP, Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, First baptism, papal nuncio, quincentennial anniversary, Rev. Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili

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