CEBU, Jan. 26 (PIA) -- Despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Archdiocese of Cebu will push through with the year-long celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines in April 2021 through the different social media platforms.
Archbishop Jose Palma, during the Network Briefing News with Presidential Communications Operations Sec. Martin Andanar, said the 5th centenary will be celebrated but the number of participants will depend on the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force guidelines set for the occasion.
Palma admits to having mixed emotions when celebrating Pontifical Mass via livestreaming, wishing on one hand that there would be a huge crowd, and on another, "the little crowd inside the Basilica would have meaning as well this year."
However, he acknowledged the birth of social media with masses being held virtually due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 and the value of social media with many people using these platforms to connect, bond, celebrate, and gather together.
On the preparation for the celebration, Palma said "Cebu is what we call the Cradle of Christian Civilization. From the Church perspective, we want to commemorate two important events, the first mass 500 years ago (on Limasawa Island) which happened on Easter will be celebrated this April 4 since it is Easter (for this year), and the first baptism in Cebu on April 14, 1521."
He said the year-long celebration will be various formation programs and cultural celebrations for the jubilee of 500 years either in the parish or diocesan level.
The image of the Sto. Nino and the Magellan's Cross will be visiting various places, the archbishop added.
Palma also highlighted the International Mission Congress which is "to prepare people for mission because the theme this year is 'Mission' meaning we have received therefore it is only proper that we are ready to be sent away as a way of thanking God for the gift."
He cited the theme for the 500 years commemoration as "gifted to give" which focuses on how people can share the gifts that they've received.
The theme is also in line with one of the National Quincentennial Commemoration's themes which is "Humanity."
"Sa ating mga kababayan, and all our friends here and abroad, COVID may still be around but I like it when the Holy Father would remind us we are not paralyzed. This COVID will end especially with the vaccine coming and we continue to pray... but more importantly, COVID or no COVID, the 500 centenary will be celebrated... Please pray that the celebration would mean that we find a reason to thank the Lord for coming into our shores, we find a reason to be grateful. That we find a reason to share the gift, that we find a reason to appreciate the Nino and because the Nino is with us like a little child we should have faith in God and finally that we find a reason to think of the small ones, those in the periphery, those who needs our help and believe that could mean a meaningful way because we thought we are gifted and we are willing to give," Palma said.
The 500 years of Christianity is one of the events being celebrated on the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan, and the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world. (idc/PIA7)