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500 Years of Christianity: Bishop honors parents for passing on faith at home

500 Years of Christianity: Bishop honors parents for passing on faith at home

Bishop Crispin Varquez celebrates Mass at the St. John the Baptist Parish Church on the historic Homonhon Island in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on September 25, 2020. PHOTO BY ALREN BERONIO

By CBCP News

March 13, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop used his message for the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines in paying tribute to parents for passing on the “gift of faith” to their children.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan thanked the parents who took it upon themselves to teach and transmit “the beauty and the truth of our Catholic faith to their children”.

“You are doing a very admirable mission. I encourage you to continue,” Varquez said in a pastoral letter.

He also recognized the “creative and passionate” efforts of priests, the religious, the Basic Ecclesial Communities, and other religious organizations for evangelization.

“May I urge you to remain in your firm conviction. Persevere until the end,” the bishop said.

With the various means of evangelizing, he reminded them that there is “no substitute to Christian witnessing”.

“We teach our faith best by the kind of persons that we are, by the words and deeds that we express,” Varquez said.

“Our faith is a saving treasure. Transmitting it is both our joy and our responsibility,” he added.

Homonhon Island is at the center of the diocese’s celebration because it is the place where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first landed in the archipelago nearly 500 years ago.

From March 17 to 28 in 1521, Magellan and his men took a respite on the island, an integral part of what would later become the Diocese of Borongan.

“It is also on record that they were welcomed by our ancestors with grateful hospitality. In the years that followed they also joyfully welcomed the faith the missionaries brought with them,” Varquez said.

To commemorate the historic event, the bishop will celebrate Mass at the “Magellan’s site” in the island’s Pagbabangnan village on March 17.

He will also lead the opening of the “Jubilee Door” of Homonhon’s St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Casuguran village.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said that Homonhon plays a “great role” in the history of the Church and the country.

“We continue to pray for you,” Tagle said in a video message.

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