Pope to lead Vatican mass for 500th year of Philippine Christianity


March 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis will lead the celebration of mass at the Vatican today in celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.

To be held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the mass will livestream through the Facebook pages of CBCP News, Visita Iglesia, Saint Pedro Calungsod and CBCP Online Radio.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, the pope’s vicar in Rome, will concelebrate the mass to be attended by Filipino seminarians and clergymen.

The 500 Years of Christianity (500YOC) official website and Facebook page will broadcast the celebration live at 10 a.m. (Rome time), which is 5 p.m. in the Philippines.

Sky Cable Channel 210 (TV Maria), SatLite Channel 102, Destiny Cable Channel 96, Cablelink Channel 18, CIGNAL Channel 188, ABS CBN TV Plus Channel 29 and GMA Affordabox Channel 21 will also livestream the papal mass.

In 2019, Pope Francis led Simbang Gabi with the Filipino community in Rome, during which he called on overseas Filipino workers to “continue to be smugglers of the faith.” Pope Francis visited the Philippines in 2015, two years after his election as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Sally Manilla of the Worship Commission of the Parish Pastoral Council, Sentro Pilipino, said the mass will begin with a procession of an image of Sto. Niño inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

She said the First Reading would be read in English and the Second Reading in Filipino. A choir member will sing the Responsorial Psalm.

Manilla emphasized there would be strict observance of health protocols to avoid the spread of COVID-19. As part of anti-COVID measures, there will be no altar servers.

Fr. Ricky Gente, chaplain of the Sentro Pilipino-Rome Santa Pudenziana Basilica, said the mass would be limited to only a few attendees, 10 concelebrants and 23 choir members.

A painting by Filipino artist Ryan Carreon Aragon depicting Magellan offering an image of the Sto. Niño to Hara Humanay, wife of Rajah Humabon, would be presented as gift to Francis. After her baptism, Hara Humanay was given the Christian name Doña Juana. Aragon’s work was one of the entries in the Quincentennial Painting Competition.

The first mass in the Philippines was held on March 31, 1521 – Easter Sunday – in Limasawa in Southern Leyte some two weeks after Magellan’s fleet reached Homonhon in Eastern Samar on March 16, 1521.


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