As the country is quietly celebrating the 500 years of the coming of Christianity, the pandemic did not hamper the spirit of the Filipinos, in making this event meaningful as possible. Every archdiocese and diocese has its own way of thanking God for this grace of being a Catholic nation. Pope Francis even celebrated the Mass last March 14, 2021, for this purpose in Rome together with the Filipino community as his way of solidarity.
And in this remembrance of the first baptism of the first Filipino Catholics 500 years ago, the Pope through a video message sent his message that moves the heart of every Filipino who has viewed it. The highlights of his message are as follows:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Through this video message, I am pleased to join you in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first preaching of the Gospel in the Philippines. Thank you for that deep sense of family, community, and fraternity that keeps you firm in faith, joyful in hope, and attentive in charity.
During this jubilee year, let the words of Jesus guide you: “Without cost you received; without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8). These words are an invitation to thank God for all those who handed on the faith to you. I myself can testify that you know how to hand on the faith; it is something you do very well, whether in your own country or abroad. Be grateful for the gift of faith. Thank God for the people who gave you the faith and for all those to whom you will pass it on in turn. Renew your enthusiasm for evangelization. Reach out to others and bring them the hope and joy of the Gospel.
Do not be afraid; you are not alone in this mission. Two great saints of your land accompany you: Saint Pedro Calungsod and Saint Lorenzo Ruiz. Two holy catechists who knew how to give without cost what they had received without cost: life and faith in Jesus.
Keep moving forward; the Pope is always at your side. May Jesus bless you and bless all the Filipino people. May the Holy Virgin watch over you and the Santo Niño be always with you. I ask you, please, to remember to pray for me. Thank you very much.
To see the full text of the Pope homily and message, please click the following links. https://cbcpnews.net/cbcpnews/full-text-pope-francis-homily-during-mass-for-the-500th-anniversary-of-the-evangelization-of-the-philippines/