The COVID-19 pandemic may have delayed the quintessential anniversary celebrations of Philippine Christianity by a few months, but the Catholic Church is now determined to push through with the event this April.
According to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), celebrations for the 500 Years of Christianity (YOC) in the Philippines will kick off on April 4, 2021— the day when the country’s first-ever Easter Sunday Mass was held in Limasawa Island. The year-long celebration will conclude on 2022.
Msgr. Bernard Pantin, Secretary-General of the CBCP, said each diocese will have a designated jubilee door to accommodate plenary indulgences. He explained that this is to avoid overcrowding in the country’s main churches.
“Kasi ngayon, limited pa ang attendance sa simbahan. Pero ang nangyayari kasi, parish-based siya. Kaya dispersed naman all over the Philippines kasi bawat parokya magbubukas ng Jubilee door nila,” Pantin said in an interview.
“Dahil nga sa pandemic, hindi makapunta sa main churches… Kaya bawat diocese, ang mga Obispo, nag-decide sila na mayroong mga simbahan na pwedeng puntahan na makaka-avail sila ng tinatawag nating plenary indulgence.”
500 Years of PH Christianity
Pantin added that most of the activities for this year’s YOC celebrations will be held through online platforms. (Read: The 500-Year History of Catholicism in the Philippines)
These activities include a virtual pilgrimage, lectures on the history of Philippine Christianity, and webinars on Mission for Youth, Mission for Ecclesial Movements, Mission for Clergy, and Mission for CLE Teachers, Campus Ministers, and Catechists.
While the final schedule for all YOC-related activities is yet to be released, the CBCP and the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC) have already announced the dates for the celebration’s biggest events. Read below as My Pope Philippines lists them down for you!
Schedule of Activities
- April 4, 2021 – The national celebrations for the quintessential anniversary of Philippine Christianity will be officially launched. (Read: Pope Pens Letter to Celebrate 500th Anniversary of First Mass in Chile)
- April 14, 2021 – A reenactment of the First Baptism will be held in front of the Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City at 10 AM. This will be followed by a Mass celebration and renewal of baptismal promises in Cebu City’s Basilica del Sto. Niño at 4 PM, and a cultural show at 7:30 PM.
- April 27, 2021 – Celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan will be live-streamed online; a “Quincentennial Grand Show” will be broadcasted on all TV networks as a tribute to the lives of the country’s heroes and martyrs. Various government institutions will also hold a simultaneous flag-raising ceremony in public spaces to commemorate the event.
- April 18 to 22, 2022 – The closing activities for the year-long celebrations will be held in Cebu City. The CBCP is hoping to invite the Papal Legate or personal representative of the Pope to the event.
The theme for the 500 YOC celebrations is “Gifted to Give” — a reminder for the faithful to not only celebrate, but to also go out and share the gift of the Christian faith.