Pope Francis will lead Italy’s Filipino community in celebrating 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines, the Vatican confirmed.
Fr. Ricky Gente, a Filipino priest who is currently based in Rome, said that the Pope will officiate a Mass with the Filipino community in Italy. It will be held at 10 AM on Sunday, March 14, at the St. Peter’s Basilica. (Read: Meet 3 Filipinos Who Work in the Vatican)
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and president of Caritas Internationalis, will also be present at the event.
Mass at the Vatican
Due to the ongoing pandemic, only a limited number of people will be allowed to physically attend the Mass at the Vatican. As such, the event will be live-streamed online to allow Filipinos in different parts of the world to participate in the celebrations.
According to Gente, attendees may also proceed to the Vatican Square after the Mass celebrations to receive blessings from the Pope. “You can also receive blessings from the Pope after mass in Vatican Square where he will lead the Angelus prayer at noon,” he said.
In the Philippines, the commemoration of 500 years of Christianity will be officially launched on April 4, Easter Sunday. “Gifted to Give,” taken from Matthew’s Gospel (10:9), will be the theme of the year-long celebration. (Read: 500th Year Celebration of PH Christianity to Push Through This April)
Christianity in the Philippines
In Asia, the Philippines is known to be a predominantly Christian nation, with more than 86 percent of its population being Roman Catholic. As a matter of fact, when Pope Francis visited the country in 2015, it was one of the things that he appreciated in the Philippines.
“This is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing,” the pope said in his homily during Mass at the Luneta Park. “But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.” (Read: Pope John Paul II’s 1981 message to Filipinos remains relevant today)