(UPDATED) The Archdiocese of Cebu baptized a total of 100 infants at the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Our Lady of Guadalupe in Cebu City on Sunday, April 11, 2021, for the first day of the Triduum for the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YoC) celebration.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma together with Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones and Palo Archbishop John Du welcomed 100 infants from 19 Archdiocesan parishes into the Christian community.
Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antonio Rañola also concelebrated the event along with other priests.
"They (children) are too small to understand the meaning now, but perhaps when they grow old, in connection to the fifth centenary (500 YoC), we remember that they were baptized," Palma said.
In all Sunday masses of every parish in Cebu, the renewal of baptismal promises is done and mass baptism is also encouraged.
Sister Evangeline Pabalate, MCST, coordinator of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Ministry that spearheaded the event, said although some have arrived late, all of the 100 targeted infants joined the sacramental celebration.
She said the majority or 47 of the infants were from the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Our Lady of Guadalupe; followed by the Archdiocesan Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus (Lahug) at 12; Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral with 11; Our Lady of Sacred Heart (Capitol) with 6; Santo Niño (Guba) with 3; Alliance of Two Hearts (Banawa) with 3; Blessed Sacrament Parish with 3; Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish-Recoletos with 2; Birhen de los Remedios Parish with 2; Our Mother of Perpetual Help Redemptorist with 2, and one each from the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Roque, San Isidro Parish (Talamban), Saint Arnold Jansen Parish, Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Mary Help of Christian Parish, Saint Augustine of Hippo Quasi Parish-Recoletos; San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Nicolas Parish.
"We let the catechists choose the children to be baptized. The catechists chose those who are in the peripheries," she said.
She added that respective parishes of the infants subsidized the kits that the parents received after the event, such as the certificate of attendance to the 500 YoC celebration.
Rica Fasio, 18, from Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City, said she is very happy to have her five-month-old baby girl baptized during the activity.
"Blessed ko kay naapil akong anak. Interesado jud ko muapil mao tong niadto ko sa among simbahan," she said.
Emelina Mabuti, a catechist from Barangay Carreta, Cebu City, who sponsored an infant from Sitio Sambag, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City, said she looked forward to the activity.
"Dako kaayo nga privilege nga mo-sponsor. Nakita man sad nako nga angayon pod sila g'yd tabangan," she said.
Palma urged the faithful to pray that the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Charles Brown can attend the Pontifical Mass on April 14 as scheduled.
"Yesterday (April 10), tungod sa mga restrictions, di pa g'yod sigurado. We just pray that he could really make it kay gusto man niya," he told members of the press.
He also hope that just as the first event on Sunday, activities scheduled this week for the 500 YoC will be peaceful and meaningful.
He encouraged the faithful to follow the celebrations through various online platforms.
A motorcade of the Image of the Señor Santo Niño and the Jubilee Cross from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño to Pardo Church in Cebu City also transpired Sunday.
Meanwhile, the official Gospel book that will be used for Visayas and Mindanao and all Cebuano-speaking dioceses during liturgical celebrations was already approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and was launched on Sunday after the mass and baptism.
On Monday, April 12, a mass and confirmation for 100 faithfuls will be held at the National Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mandaue City.
Photos and videos by Amper Campaña