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1521 Feature Heritage History

Cebu Archdiocese, CBCP to focus on first baptism, spread of faith in 2021 celebration

The baptism of Cebuanos led by Rajah Humabon will be the focus of the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) in their celebration of the 500th year of the Christianization of the Philippines

On December 1, 2019, the church will start a 500-day countdown to April 14, 2021, the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the Philippines. On that day in 1521, 800 Cebuanos under Humabon were baptized by members of the Spanish armada led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

On April 14, 2021, 500 children with special needs will be baptized as part of the reenactment of that first baptism.

Jubilee Cross sendoff

Also on December 1, church officials will send off the Jubilee Cross, a replica of Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood that will have in it a relic of the True Cross. The Jubilee Cross will visit the different parishes in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

The activities were announced earlier today by church officials led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles during a press conference in the Executive Lounge of Oakridge Business Park in Mandaue City.

2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.
2021 EVENTS. Officials announce the official activities for the 500th anniversary of the Christianization in the Philippines. Present during the press conference in Oakridge Business Park are (from left) Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili; Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, who is also the CBCP president; Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who heads the Visayas Quincentennial Committee; and Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones.

Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said the 2021 celebration has three pillars around which events are organized – celebration, formation, and legacy. He said the 2021 celebration has many highlights – including the arrival of the Sto. Nino, for which the Augustinian community started a countdown today. He said the archdiocese chose to focus on the baptism because “it is when our faith was planted in our hearts.”

Open Holy Door

Fr. Balili said they requested Pope Francis for permission to open the Holy Door for plenary indulgence and extend this to the 9 oldest churches in Cebu. Archbishop Palma will also celebrate the Misa de Gallo in 2020 in these 9 oldest churches, which include Bantayan, Argao, Barili, Boljoon, Carcar, San Nicolas, among others.

Key events leading to 2021 including the holding of monthly jubilees involving church organizations, ministries, and sectors of society. The jubilees are pegged on feast days of saints.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones highlighted the importance of the events saying 2021 is unrepeatable, irreplaceable and irrevocable. He said it is a “once in a lifetime event.”

“If Bethlehem is point x of our salvation history, in the Philippines, Cebu – the cradle of Christianity – is the point x where faith spread,” he said.

HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.
HERITAGE WALK. Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, discusses the heritage walk the Cebu City Government and various stakeholders want to put up in time for the celebration.

Mission congress

Part of the preparation for the year-long celebration leading to the quincentennial is the holding of mission congresses in the different parishes from August to October 2020. The Archdiocesan Mission Congress will be held on October 24, 2020. This will culminate with the sendoff of 500 missionaries outside extra during the National Mission Congress on April 12-16, 2021.

On April 11 to 18, 2021, organizers will stage an Amorsolo Painting Exhibit. One of Fernando Amorsolo’s most important paintings is “The First Baptism in the Philippines.”

Triduum celebrations will also be held three days before the baptism anniversary. Preceding it is the arrival of the Jubilee Cross scheduled on April 10, 2021. The first day of Triduum on April 11 will be held at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The second day will be at the National Shrine of St. Joseph while the last day will be at the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center. The Triduum will end with a procession around Cebu City.

First recorded Easter Mass

Valles said the church will mark the first recorded Easter Mass with a national celebration of masses. The Mojares panel is still looking into the question on where the first mass in the Philippines was held. Two previous panels have ruled in favor of Limasawa against the other claimant Butuan.

During today’s press conference, renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who is head of the Visayas Quincentennial Committee, unveiled the planned downtown heritage walk that would take people to historical buildings and locations, including churches, in Cebu City. (See separate story).

Valles said the CBCP will send an invitation to Vatican for Pope Francis but they said they are aware of how tight his schedule is. He said it is likely that a papal legate will attend the events for the Vatican. He said they will also be sending an invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte.

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Cebu News Digest: Jan. 26, 2015: Fire destroys 7 Danao City offices; Archbishop Palma tells PNoy to move on; more traffic experiments in Cebu City ahead

Fire destroyed the old City Hall building in Danao City on Saturday, gutting 7 government offices and causing an estimated P6.19 million in damages. Witnesses told investigators they heard an explosion at the 2nd floor of the building before fire broke out.

Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma advised President Benigno Aquino III to “move forward” rather than linger on the past – the alleged crimes of the previous administration. Palma issued the statement after that stinging statement by President Aquino when Pope Francis visited Malacañang.

Here are the top Cebu news stories for today, January 26, 2015.

DANAO FIRE. Fire investigators reported the damage caused by the fire Saturday night at P6.19 million. (Photo by Lesley Caminade-Vestil of TV 5)
DANAO FIRE. Fire investigators reported the damage caused by the fire Saturday night at P6.19 million. (Photo by Lesley Caminade-Vestil of TV 5)

Fire destroys 7 Danao City offices; damage estimated at P6.19 million

A fire gutted 7 Danao City Government offices and the town’s police station at 9 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Poblacion, Danao City.

Senior Fire Officer 2 Eduardo Rizaldo said the alarm went out at 9:10 p.m. and the fire was placed under control 30 minutes after they arrived although it took them until past 4 a.m. to put it out completely. An investigator said witnesses reported an explosion at the second floor of the old Danao City Hall building after which smoke was seen rising out of the Parole and Probation Office, with fire quickly spreading throughout the building.

The fire destroyed the building where the offices of the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Parole, Senior Citizens Office and Public Employment Service Office are located.

Move on, Archbishop Palma advises President Aquino

“Move forward,” rather than linger on alleged crimes committed by the previous administration, that was the advice of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to President Benigno Aquino III on Sunday.

During Pope Francis’s visit to Malacañang on January 16, Aquino accused the local clergy of falling silent in face of the alleged anomalies of the Arrroyo Administration.

Archbishop Palma told reporters that contrary to what Aquino said, the Church has always observed “critical collaboration” with the National Government, even during the nine-year Arroyo administration.

“With all the inspiring moves made by the Holy Father, why do we have to linger or always go back to the past?” — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma

“Each person is entitled to his perceptions, but if we look at it, it might be good to look at the present and to look forward rather than be stuck in the past.” — Palma

Citom asks public: Be prepared for more traffic experiments ahead

Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Executive Director Victor Caindec said they will implement more traffic experiments on congestion-prone roads in the coming days

“We’re looking at Escario and there is an ongoing discussion with the private sector on how are we going to deal with it,” Caindec said.

He said traffic experiments implemented in Fuente Osmeña and on Gen. Maxilom Ave. will continue because they need more time to observe if these worked.

January 26, Cebu front pages
FRONT PAGES. Today’s front pages of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Daily News. (Note: front page image of The Freeman not available online)

Freedom fighter Dodong Holganza passes away

Former political detainee Jose Ribomapil “Dodong” Holganza Sr. has passed away. He died Sunday in Chong Hua Hospital after suffering a stroke. Holganza fought against the Marcos dictatorship and was detained for it. He later served various government positions.

“Mobarog, dili mahadlok mobarog.” — Cebu City market administrator and Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement chief Raquel Arce on Dodong Holganza, who was one of her wedding sponsors and whom she looked up to as an idol

Other to Cebu news stories

Sun.Star Cebu: 19 projects of Cebu towns to be funded by Capitol’s 20% development fund approved

The Freeman: Random drug tests for Cebu City high school students to start in June

The Freeman: Proposed rules on class suspensions in Cebu City schools ready; under proposal: suspension should be based on situation in area where school is located

Sun.Star Cebu: P90-million church with design inspired by St. John Paul II to rise in Barangay Pulangbato, Cebu City

Sun.Star Cebu: Veco gets provisional okay from ERC to collect P78 million it spent for underground cabling project in Capitol from its consumers

Cebu Business headlines

Sun.Star Cebu: 2014 year of rehabilitation; 2015 year to be competitive, says Department of Trade and Industry

Sun.Star Cebu: Human Nature to open 6 new branches throughout the country in 1st quarter

The Freeman: Vegetable prices in Cebu up by P10