Cebu’s oldest parish marks 440th anniversary

Cebu’s oldest parish marks 440th anniversary

Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church on Bantayan Island, Cebu. COURTESY OF FR. JUN AGRAVANTE

By CBCP News

June 12, 2020

Cebu City

One of the country’s oldest parish churches marked its 440th anniversary Thursday with a simple celebration due to coronavirus quarantine.

The commemoration was held with a Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church, located on a small remote island of Bantayan in northern Cebu.

The observance was held with a limited attendance in compliance with the government protocols against Covid-19.

In a video message to Bantayan parishioners, Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu offered his prayer of thanksgiving “for the gifts the Lord has bestowed in your parish”.

The archbishop said he is also praying that the pandemic would bring people closer and “stronger in faith”.

Parishioners attend Mass at the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church on Bantayan Island in Cebu City on June 3. PHOTO FROM BANTAYAN CHURCH

“Together let us believe that our faith founded on the apostles grow even stronger with difficulties,” Palma said.

Built in 1580, the church structure has undergone many repairs but has kept intact a large part of the foundation and walls made of coral stones just like other centuries-old churches in the Philippines.

For many years, the Bantayan church has been a famous pilgrimage site and a tourist destination aside from the island’s pristine beaches.

During holy week, thousands of Catholics flock to the island for various church festivities.

The parish has also produced a number of religious and priests including Archbishop John Du of Palo and retired Auxiliary Bishop Emilio Bataclan of Cebu.