500th Anniversary of 1st Baptism: 7 children christened
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Rosemarie Elosendo can now heave a sigh of relief as she can finally present proof that her son, Milby, was baptized.
Rosemarie accompanied the 13-year-old Milby on Wednesday, April 14, at Plaza Sugbo as he was one of the seven children the Roman Catholic church welcomed into their fold.
No less than the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown, administered baptismal sacraments to Milby and six other children during the Pontifical Mass celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism in the country.
“I am very happy that he was baptized. Our family can finally show documentary proof to his teachers every meeting,” said Rosemarie in a mix of Ilonggo and Cebuano.
The Elosendos are residing in Naga City but the family originally came from Iloilo.
Rosemarie’s son, 13-year-old Milby, is an indigenous child, a member of the Aeta.
“We don’t usually stay long in a place. This is also why it was hard to come by with documents such as birth and baptismal certificates being asked by Milby’s teachers,” Rosemarie added in Cebuano.
Rosemarie was born into a Catholic family and said she wanted her son to also be raised as one.
“We are doing our best to make sure Milby will have a bright future. And when a church worker told us that he could be baptized for free, my partner (Milby’s father) and I agreed,” she explained in Cebuano.
While a baptismal certificate is not considered a public record, some institutions, including schools, ask for copies of these from parents.
The Roman Catholic church here led the celebrations for the 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism in the country on Wednesday. It is part of the nationwide 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) celebrations.
Only 700 people, including organizers, performers, and guests, were allowed to participate in the event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made history by introducing Roman Catholicism in the archipelago.
Cebu’s then ruler Rajah Humabon, his wife Hara Humamaya, and several of their subjects were the first to be baptized and introduced into the Christian community.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in a recent report, said the Philippines is the top country with the most number of baptisms among young children.
CBCP, quoting reports from the Catholic News Service, said the country registered 1.6 million baptisms of children age seven years old below in 2019.
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