The Philippines is famous for many things—it’s pristine beaches, scrumptious food, and rich history. But above all these, the country is especially known for being a predominantly Catholic nation in Southeast Asia. In fact, when Pope Francis visited the country in 2015, it was one of the things that he appreciated in the Philippines.
The history of Christianity in the Philippines is as rich as the nation’s history. The religion was brought by Spanish explorers and introduced to the datus who welcomed them in the shores of Visayas. From then, it has played a vital role in many historic events such as the Marcos dictatorship era. (Read: Pope John Paul II’s 1981 message to Filipinos remains relevant today)
Many Catholic priests have also proven worthy to be recognized in the Vatican, the seat of Catholicism in the world such as our very own Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, who is a close friend of Pope Francis. (Read: Pope Francis appoints Cardinal Tagle as new member of his “cabinet”)
500 Years of Christianity
In 2019, the Archdiocese of Cebu has officially launched the 500-day countdown in commemoration of the year-long celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) likewise has released the official theme and logo for the 500th anniversary, dubbed “500YOC.”
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“Gifted to Give,” which was taken from Matthew’s Gospel (10:8), is the theme. Meanwhile, the logo has various elements symbolic of Catholicism’s rich history. It includes a cross that signifies the cross planted by Magellan on the island of Mactan. The ship represents the navigators of the expedition that brought the faith to the island. It also signifies the Church and its sacraments. A dove on the logo symbolizes the Holy Spirit, it looks like a cloud much like the presence of God in our lives. (Read: The 500-Year History of Catholicism in the Philippines)
In anticipation of the quincentenary, the CBCP has formally invited Pope Francis to join in on the celebrations in 2021. (Read: CBCP formally invites Pope Francis to visit the Philippines in 2021) And while the Pope is still yet to respond to the invite, many have been speculating that he might not be able to personally attend the event given the ongoing crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In hopes of still having the Pope celebrate 500 years of Philippine Christianity with us 2021, My Pope Philippines has launched a nationwide campaign that aims to put together the voices of Filipinos in urging the Santo Papa to consider visiting the country again. Called #MyPopeVisit2021, the campaign offers a platform where individuals can personally invite Pope Francis to grace the celebration next year by sending him a message.
Want to reach Pope Francis? Send your heartfelt letters and prayers through this link and we will try our best for it to reach him! For more information, contact My Pope Philippines on our Facebook or email, [email protected]