COVID-19 forces bishops to postpone quincentennial celebration of Christianity in PH

Published September 24, 2020, 10:56 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catholic Church has decided to prolong by one year the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

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

“Due to the crisis caused by the pandemic, it was necessary to change the schedule of our celebration of the 500 years of Christianity,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, acting president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said in a CBCP News post.

“So it is now going to be a whole year celebration until 2022,” he added.

According to CBCP News, 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.

The church will also commemorate the First Baptism on April 14, 2021, to 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.

The National Retreat for the Clergy set on Aug. 4 to 6, 2021 has also been cancelled. Instead, the bishops’ Commission on Clergy will organize a series of conferences on the church’s history in the Philippines.

Bishop David said each CBCP Commission will also have adjustments of their plans due to the crisis.