The Archdiocese of Cebu is set to launch tomorrow the 500-day countdown to commemorate the first baptism in the country.
Fr. Mhar Balili, secretary general of the Quincentennial Anniversary, said the event will signify the start of the year-long celebration of the 500 years of Christianization in the Philippines which will be celebrated in 2021.
He added that the launching will begin with a Mass to be celebrated by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma together with the priests of the archdiocese at 6 a.m. at the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño de Cebu.
“After sa Mass i-unveil natin ang countdown clock then ang blessing sa 2021 Jubilee Cross (After the Mass, we will unveil the countdown clockm then the blessing of the 2021 Jubilee Cross),” Balili told the Church-run Radio Veritas.
The Tindalo Cross or the replica of Magellan’s cross will visit dioceses and archdioceses around the country while preparing for the 2021 event.
Balili said after the blessing of the Jubilee Cross, it will be paraded with the pilgrim image of the Santo Niño de Cebu where it will first visit the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
He added that it was agreed upon by the archdiocese that the first 250 days, the Jubilee Cross and the image Santo Niño will visit parishes in Cebu while the remaining 250 days will make it rounds to different dioceses and archdiocese in the country.
Based on history, the first baptismal in the Philippines happened on April 14, 1521, where Ferdinand Magellan offered to Queen Juana the image of baby Jesus.
The coordination of the Augustine priests from the Order of St. Augustine Province of Santo Niño de Cebu to the Catholic Church is in full swing since they are the first missionaries in the country that take good care of the miraculous Sto. Niño image since the 15th Century.
Balili urged the faithful particularly in Cebu to join the important occasion for Roman Catholics.
He also reminded those who will attend the mass that the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño will implement ‘No Backpack Policy’ for security reasons.
The Catholic priest added that Osmena Boulevard and P. Burgos Sreet will be closed from 4 a.m. until the Eucharistic Celebration has ended.
The celebration will also be held during the start of Advent and the opening of the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue, and Indigenous People.