Celebration of Christianity’s 500th year in PH moved to 2022
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic Church leaders in the country have decided to delay by a year the celebration for the 500th anniversary celebration of the Christianization of the Philippines, moving the event to April 2022.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, at a press conference on Tuesday, said since the event was expected to draw throngs of people and with mass gathering prohibited to avoid transmission of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), it was only prudent to postpone the activity.
“The [event is moved to 2022] simply because we could not control COVID-19 and we could not gather people, hence there is not much significance. We are also following the mindset of Rome. Rome has pushed [back] many activities. If not for COVID-19, we should have been in Budapest now to celebrate the International Eucharistic Congress,” he said.
The yearlong quincentennial event will, nonetheless, start in April 2021 and will culminate in April 2022.
“We will start [the celebration] only in 2021, but it will be staggered and it will progress until 2022,” Palma said.
Among the events that will be commemorated are the first Mass on Limasawa Island, the first baptism in Cebu and the arrival of the image of the Sto. Niño, the oldest religious icon in the Philippines.
Sto. Niño feast
Augustinian fathers of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu were also preparing for the feast of the Child Jesus in January 2021.
The original feast date was April 28, but with the approval of Pope Innocent the XIII in the 18th century, it was moved to the third Sunday of January to avoid conflict with the “Eastertide,” or the 50-day period from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.
Palma on Tuesday led the launching of a mobile app that would exhibit the Archdiocese of Cebu’s historical and religious relics as a prelude to the 500 years of Christianity.
The new app features the “sacred art” found in the centuries-old churches in Cebu.
The activity was supposed to feature actual visits and display of the art pieces but because of the pandemic, the Church tied up with Smart Communications to come up with the virtual or online exhibit. —DALE ISRAEL
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