NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Pope Francis and two Boholano church pillars based in Spain and in Davao City are leading today’s launching event for the year-long celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Papal Nuncio to Spain and Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Phils (CBCP), both Boholanos issued their statements calling for a meaningful observance of the historic event.
In his homily, Pope Francis cited the “joy in the hearts of the Filipinos,” saying “500 years have passed since the Christian message first arrived in the Philippines. You received the joy of the Gospel of the good news that God so loved us giving his Son for us.”
The Pope continued saying the “joy is evident in your people as we see it in your eyes, in your songs and in your prayers. In the joy with which you bring your faith to other lands.”
He cited the missionary commitment that involves everyone and reaches everyone.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Auza, a native of Talibon town, sent his message last night to the Chronicle saying the five galleons of the Magellan Expedition explored for the first time a westward route to the Spice Islands- not the usual route. But it landed them in the Philippine islands, providentially.
AB Auza said that for the Philippines, it was the arrival of Christianity. “For Cebu, the first baptisms, the Santo Nino, the Magellan Cross while for Bohol, later in 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Sikatuna and the Blood Compact,” he said.
He even cited the novelty Boholano singer Yoyoy Villame who informed us through his song Magellan: “all people were baptized and built the Church of Christ. And that’s the beginning of our Catholic life.”
He said the missionary work of spreading Christianity continues with the “overseas workers, the greatest missionaries, traffickers of faith, as Pope Francis lovingly defines them.”
Archbishop Auza said his presence in Spain represents, in some way, the circumnavigation of the faith we received from Spain, him being a Filipino representing as Ambassador of the Holy Father to the Crown and to the Church that begot our Church in the Philippines.
For his part, CBCP President Valles, a native of Maribojoc town recalled that the first mass in Limasawa island was also an Easter Sunday celebrated 500 years ago.
“The first mass in the country in 1521 was the first encounter and experience of our Filipino forefathers of the Christian faith bringing that moment of grace as we were gifted with the Christian faith.” he stressed.
He said Boholanos can testify that we experience that kind of faith in our lives.
The CBCP president echoed the call for us to become “new missionaries” who are gifted and challenged to share this gift with others in mission.
“Truly, Filpinos are Gifted to Give which is the theme of the yearlong celebration,” Valles concluded.
Bishop Alberto Uy and Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon of the Diocese of Tagbilaran and Diocese of Talibon together with Bishop Emeritus Leonardo Medroso are spearheading activities in the province
Today’s launching includes the official opening of the doors of the 32 designated pilgrim churches in the province.
Bishop Uy leads the opening with other Cathedral bishops the opening of the Holy Door of the St. Joseph Cathedral at 9 o’clock this morning while Bishop Parcon leads at the Blessed Trinity Cathedral in Talibon.
The respective parish priests will open the Holy Doors of the other pilgrim churches.
For the parishioners entering these Holy Doors, they will get “plenary indulgence.”
On April 10, mass baptism in all parishes while a fluvial parade at the scenic Loay River will bring the celebration the following day at the Loboc Church.
The 30 designated “Pilgrim Churches are:
- St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral (Sarmiento St., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Barangay sang Birhen Shrine-Parish Church (Cogon Dist., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church (Gov. CelestinoGallares St., Poblacion II, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- St. Jude Thaddeus Shrine-Parish Church (Mansasa Dist., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Church (Taloto Dist., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Santisima Trinidad Parish Church (Manga Dist., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Birhen sang Barangay Parish Church (LindavilleSubd., Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
- Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish Church (Poblacion, Lila, Bohol)
- Santo Niño Parish Church (Poblacion, Valencia, Bohol)
- Assumption of Our Lady Shrine-Parish Church (Poblacion, Dauis, Bohol)
- San Agustin Parish Church (Poblacion, Panglao, Bohol)
- NuestraSeñora del Villar Parish Church (Poblacion, Corella, Bohol)
- NuestraSeñora de la Luz Parish Church (Poblacion, Loon, Bohol)
- Santa Cruz Parish Cruz – San Vicente Ferrer Shrine (Poblacion, Maribojoc, Bohol)
- Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish Church (Poblacion, Antequera, Bohol)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Church (Poblacion, Balilihan, Bohol)
- Inmaculada Concepcion Parish Church (Poblacion, Catigbian, Bohol)
- Santo Niño Parish Church (Poblacion, Cortes, Bohol)
- San Pedro Apostol Parish Church (Poblacion, Loboc, Bohol)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church (Poblacion, Sevilla, Bohol)
- St. James the Great Parish Church (Poblacion, Batuan, Bohol)
- San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church (Poblacion, Calape, Bohol)
- San Agustin Parish Church (Poblacion, Sagbayan, Bohol)
- San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (Poblacion, Tubigon, Bohol)
- San Juan Bautista Parish Church (Poblacion, Garcia-Hernandez, Bohol)
- Most Holy Trinity Cathedral (Talibon, Bohol)
- St. Paul the Apostle Parish Church (Inabanga, Bohol)
- St. Anthony the Abbot Parish Church (Carmen, Bohol)
- Immaculate Conception Parish Church (Duero, Bohol)
- St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church (Jagna, Bohol)