The Filipino community in Spain celebrated the opening of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines with a special Mass presided over by the apostolic nuncio to Spain.
On Easter Sunday, April 4, Filipinos gathered in the Spanish capital of Madrid to celebrate the quincentenary of Philippine Christianity. During Mass, they hailed migrants as the “best missionaries” of the Church.
According to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, a Filipino who is currently serving as apostolic nuncio to Spain, Filipino migrants play a huge role in ensuring that the Church remains relevant in different parts of the world. (Read: Prayer for 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines)
“You have become the best missionaries of our Church,” said Auza. “Almost everywhere, Filipinos are there. And the first place we look for and where we gather is the church.”
Celebrating the Jubilee Year
Around a hundred Filipinos attended the Mass celebration held at Madrid’s Parroquia de San Francisco Javier y San Luís Gonzaga. Also present during the event were 10 other priests, including Society of Divine Word Fr. Mark Angelo Ramos, head of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Madrid.
Auza, who has been the apostolic nuncio to Spain since January 2020, said in his homily that it was “a privilege to be in Spain, where it all began.”
He then asked the Filipino attendees to pray for the Spanish Church, as it “has been experiencing a crisis of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life and a waning religious practice”. (Read: The Pope’s Message to Filipinos for 500 Years of Christianity in PH)
“We are commissioned to make that faith bear abundant fruit everywhere we are,” Auza said. “As an act of giving back and of gratitude, may we then be leavens of the Joy of the Gospel here in Spain.”
Filipinos in Spain
Every year, thousands of Filipinos fly to Spain in hopes of finding a better source of income for themselves and their loved ones. In 2014, the Philippines recorded a number of around 26,000 Filipinos working in Spain.
Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid believes that it is the Filipino community that reignited the Catholic faith in Spain. He earlier thanked the Filipinos for this. (Read: The 500-Year History of Catholicism in the Philippines)
“We are thankful to the Filipinos who work today in our homes. Through their witnessing, they are returning back the faith we have brought to them,” he said.