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Church pushes back 500 Years of Christianity celebration due to Covid-19

Church pushes back 500 Years of Christianity celebration due to Covid-19

Catholic bishops arrive for a Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral on Jan. 27, 2018. PHOTO BY ROY LAGARDE

By CBCP News

September 24, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church has decided to prolong by one year the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

This means that the supposed culminating activity in April 2021 would now be the launch of a year-long celebration that will end in April 2022.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, acting president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the decision to move the dates of the historic event was due to the health crisis.

“Due to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to change the schedule of our celebration of the 500 years of Christianity,” David said. “So it is now going to be a whole year celebration until 2022.”

The bishops agreed that the kick-off will be on April 17, an Easter Sunday, to commemorate the First Easter Sunday Mass in the country.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has earlier affirmed that the site for the historic Mass was held on Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte on March 31, 1521.

On Sept. 12, the Diocese of Maasin began a 200-day countdown to the 500th anniversary of the 1521 Eucharistic celebration on their island.

The Church will also commemorate the First Baptism on April 14, 2021, an event that will be spearheaded by the Archdiocese of Cebu.

Originally set in April 2021, the bishops also moved the International Mission Congress (IMC) and the 2nd National Mission Congress to April 2022.

Bishop David also said that the National Retreat for the Clergy set on Aug. 4 to 6, 2021 has been cancelled.

Instead of a retreat, he said that the bishops’ Commission on the Clergy decided to organize a series of conferences on the Church’s history in the Philippines.

“Each (CBCP) Commission will also have adjustments of their plans due to the crisis that we are going through,” he said.


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