MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Due to the pandemic, the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines has been postponed until next year, announced Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, acting president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
The decision was made due to the rising number of coronavirus cases the country is facing right now. “Due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was necessary to change the schedule of our celebration of 500 years of Christianity,” he said.
The main event will be held in April 2021 and mark the start of a year-long celebrations. The date commemorates the first Mass celebrated in the Philippines on Easter Sunday on Limasawa Island, southern Leyte, Visayas Region.
Christianity spread after Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer, landed in the Philippines in 1521, as part of the expedition to reach the East by sailing West, and planted the cross that symbolises the start of the religion in the Philippines.
Other celebrations have been rescheduled due to the pandemic. the International Mission Congress (IMC) and the 2nd National Mission Congress were moved to April 2022.
The CBCP’s acting president also cancelled the National Retreat for the Clergy, scheduled for 4-6 August 2021. The CBCP Commission of the Clergy replaced it with a series of conferences on Church history in the Philippines.
“Each (CBCP) Commission will also make adjustments to their plans due to the crisis that we are going through,” Bishop David said.
Almost 80 per cent of the Philippine population is Christian, mostly Catholic.