The Archdiocese of Manila will officially launch the celebration of the 500 Years of the Arrival of Christianity in the Philippines at the Manila Cathedral on February 6, 2021. On that same day the Archdiocese also celebrates the 442nd anniversary of its establishment as the first diocese in the country.
Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila will lead the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 9 am, with the newly appointed Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles John Brown. Priests from the Archdiocese of Manila, representatives of the religious as well as the laity will also attend the celebration. The five Mayors in the cities covered by the Archdiocese were also invited to come.
Fr. Kali Pietre Llamado, Vice Rector of the Manila Cathedral and one of the priests in-charge of the preparations for the event said that the local celebration of the Archdiocese follows the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) guidelines of emphasizing celebration, formation and legacy.
“Taking inspiration from the first Mass in Limasawa and first Baptism in Cebu, the Archdiocese of Manila created a program that also highlights the contribution of Manila in the 500 Years of the story of the Christian faith in the country – that Manila is truly gifted to give,” Fr. Llamado told the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Communications.
Among the highlights of the launching, Fr. Llamado said is the wearing of the 500 Years Mission Cross which serves as a reminder of being Christians.
“The Cross from the logo will be made into pendant crosses, to bring back the tradition of wearing cross, to be a sign of our faith in Jesus, of protection from God, and most importantly, as a badge of our missionary work. Wearing a cross, we are reminded that we are Christians, we are Catholics, and we say yes to God’s mission,” he said.
Also during the launching, there will be a ceremonial giving and wearing of the Mission Cross particularly for the invited Mayors, representatives from different communities and chosen Pilgrimage churches of the Archdiocese.
The Pilgrim churches in the Archdiocese during the year-long celebration of the 500 years of Christianity are: Manila Cathedral (Manila), Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo Church (Manila), Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia (Manila), Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño de Tondo (Manila), San Pablo Apostol Parish (Manila), Santa Clara de Montefalco Parish (Pasay), National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Makati), Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (Makati), San Felipe Neri Parish (Mandaluyong), St. John the Baptist Parish (San Juan).
In union with the other cathedrals in the Philippines, Bishop Broderick Pabillo will open the jubilee door of the Manila Cathedral on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. He will open the jubilee doors of the other churches during the Easter Week.
On February 7, 2021, there will be parochial launching of the celebration of the 500 Years of the Arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. The different parishes in the Archdiocese will be holding their respective activities to mark the event.
The parish priests, according to Fr. Pietre will be “launching and explaining to the people the wearing of the 500 Years Mission Cross.” At the end of the mass, members of the music and youth ministry in the parishes will lead the people in singing and dancing the theme song, We Give Our Yes.
Other activities for the year-long celebration will be announced in the following days.
Fr. Llamado puts emphasis on the importance of missionary work especially during this time of pandemic.
“It is important for us to celebrate because Mission does not end in the time of pandemic, in fact Missionary work is given more significance in times of difficulties. Our frontliners, medical workers, and all of us who try our best to contribute in helping the country are ourselves doing and saying yes to the Mission of Jesus,” he said. (Jheng Prado/RCAM-AOC)