Yearlong commemoration of 500 Years of Christianity ends

MESSAGES about love and peace, and compassion for the downtrodden; the importance of steadfast faith and Christian life were echoed by three Roman Catholic leaders during a mass on Sunday, April 24, 2022, ending the 500th Year of Christianity (YoC) commemoration at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Cebu City.Later in the afternoon, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma led the procession, which started from the Capitol going down Osmeña Blvd. up to the Cathedral. According to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), around 10,000 individuals joined the procession.Palma, during the mass, said the Filipinos’ faith have helped them withstood several challenges such as natural disasters like Typhoon Odette (Rai) in December and the recent Tropical Depression Agaton (Megi), and the global Covid-19 pandemic.Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, on the other hand, said in his homily that people around the world must work together to promote peace and unity, and everyone must be compassionate towards the most vulnerable sector.For his part, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown told the faithful that Christian life will never end.“Christian faith is life. The life that we received, that life that came here 500 years ago, doesn’t end. It is preparing us for the life that will never end, a supernatural life that we call God’s grace,” said Brown.The 500 YoC commemorates the introduction of Christianity to the Philippines in 1521. The commemoration began in April last year.In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan introduced Christianity to the natives of Cebu. The explorer gave the Sto. Niño as a baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, who was given a Christian name, Juana.One of the activities last year was the reenactment of the first baptism at the Plaza Sugbo where actors also reenacted the meeting of Magellan and his men and then Cebu chieftain Rajah Humabon and wife, Hara Amihan.Meanwhile, CCPO spokesperson Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay said no major untoward incident happened during the religious activity.Over 500 police and military officers, traffic enforcers and other civilian volunteers were deployed to keep the peace and order during the procession.