By Robin Gomes
The lyric video, “Live Christ, Share Christ”, the official song of 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines, has been produced by the Episcopal Commission on Social Communications of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in collaboration with the Jesuit Communications (JesCom) and Montemaria Asia Pilgrims, Inc.
The lyrics draw inspiration from the theme of the celebrations, “Gifted to Give”. The song was first launched in 2013 at the start of the nine-year spiritual journey leading up to this year’s quincentennial celebration of the country’s evangelization. The revival version of the song was interpreted by singer celebrities Angeline Quinto, Erik Santos, Liezel Garcia, Janine Berdin, Bituin Escalante, Jed Madela, Jolina Magdangal, Matt Lozano, and Arman Ferrer, with arrangement by Marvin Querido. The lyrics were written by Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, with the original musical arrangement by Ryan Cayabyab, the National Artist for Music. The video has been uploaded on the Facebook page and Youtube channel of 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC). It will also be available on Spotify, Deezer, and iTunes in the next two weeks.
Celebrations kick off on Easter Sunday
Dioceses and parishes across the country will launch the yearlong Jubilee celebration on April 4, Easter Sunday. It will be marked by the country’s bishops simultaneously opening the “Holy Doors” in all the cathedrals, which will remain open throughout the jubilee year until April 22, 2022. In all some 500 churches and cathedrals across the Philippines have been designated as “Jubilee Churches” where the faithful can obtain a plenary indulgence during the celebration until April 22, 2022.
The Diocese of Maasin on March 31 led the Church in commemorating the quincentennial of the first Easter Mass in the country, which took place on Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte province. On April 14, the 500th year commemoration of the first baptism in the Philippines will be held in Cebu City. The celebration features a reenactment of the first baptism, a Mass and renewal of baptismal promises, and baptism of 10 children.
The first Eucharist and Baptism
It was on Easter Sunday in 1521 that Father Pedro de Valderrama celebrated the first Catholic Mass in what is now the Philippines. The Spanish Augustinian priest was the chaplain of the European crew of the famed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who led an expedition to explore a new route to the so-called “East Indies”, by travelling west past the southern tip of South America, called the Strait of Magellan in Chile.
Easter that year fell on March 31 and the place the sailors landed was the island of Limasawa in Southern Leyte, today part of Maasin Diocese. Father Valderrama, the chaplain of the crew, improvised an altar and celebrated Mass, which was attended by his shipmates and a host of local tribal leaders and inhabitants.
That afternoon, Magellan ordered his men to plant a large wooden cross on the top of the hill overlooking the sea. A few days later, Magellan led his expedition to the island of Cebu. On 14 April 1521, Fr. Valderrama baptized the local tribal leader and around 800 Visayan natives to form the first Catholic community of what is today the Philippines.