THE 500th year of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021 is not just a mere celebration but an opportunity for spiritual formation and for leaving a legacy.
This was how Rev. Fr. Mhar Balili, secretary general of the Archdiocese of Cebu, envisioned the thrust of the overall celebration, as he laid down the initial activities Wednesday, November 13, 2019.
Among the activities lined up for the public are the Parish/Archdiocesan Mission Congress, Pilgrimage of the Jubilee Cross, the monthly jubilees, the Triduum celebrations, National Mission Congress, Amorsolo Painting Exhibit, and the 500th Anniversary of the First Baptism.
Balili said to prepare the Cebuano faithful for the year-long quincentennial celebration, the Parish Mission Congress and the Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held from August to October 2020.
Starting December 1, 2019, a replica of Magellan's cross made of tindalo wood will visit the different parishes in Cebu, as well as the different parishes, dioceses, archdioceses, and military ordinariate in the Philippines.
To have an inclusive celebration, a series of activities involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of the society will also be held in the run-up to the 500th anniversary celebration. This series of activities will be participated by various sectors such as the youth, environment, media, and artists, among others.
To also highlight the religious piety of the Cebuanos, the triduum celebration will be held three days before (April 11, 12, and 13, 2021) the anniversary proper.
This will be followed by the send-off of 500 missionaries during the National Mission Congress on April 12 to 16, 2021.
Fernando Amorsolo's The First Baptism in the Philippines, which inspired the official logo of the fifth centenary celebrations, is also set to be exhibited from April 11 to 18, 2021.
On April 14, 2021, a reenactment of the first baptism in the Philippines will be held. After which, the baptism of 500 children with special needs will be conducted.
As for the formation aspect of the quincentennial celebration, the Archdiocese and respective commissions are tasked to come up with the homiletic and recollection guides.
Kenneth Cobonpue, the appointed head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, also introduced the plan to establish a heritage walk in time for the celebration.
The heritage walk, based on the initial plan, will start from Fort San Pedro and will pass by Malacañang sa Sugbo, Gotiaco Building, Cebu City Hall, Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cathedral Church-Museum, Plaza Humabon, Colon Obelisk, Heritage of Cebu Monument-Parian, Yap-San Diego Ancestral House, and end at Casa Gorordo. (WBS/SunStar Cebu)