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Pope to say mass for 500 years of Christianity in Philippines

Pope Francis blesses a Cebu-crafted image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu, that Msgr. Jan Thomas Limchua (right), a Cebuano priest who works in the Vatican, brought from the Fiesta Señor in January 2021*

Pope Francis will celebrate with Filipinos in Italy through a Mass the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines on March 14, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said yesterday.

The CBPC said that Fr. Ricky Gente of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Rome announced that the religious activity will be highlighted by a 10 a.m. mass to be officiated by the pontiff at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the pope’s vicar of Rome, will also attend the event.

Only a limited number of people will be allowed to attend the Eucharistic Celebration inside the basilica in accordance with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Gente said the celebration will be streamed live from the Vatican to reach Filipinos in different parts of the world. There are about 168,000 Filipinos in Italy, mostly in the Lombardia region.

“Join us in Rome to pray, praise and thank God for his gift of the Christian faith,” Gente said.

After the Mass, the pope will lead the traditional recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square at midday.

“You can also receive blessings from the Pope after mass in Vatican Square where he will lead the Angelus prayer at noon,” he added.

In the Philippines, many dioceses will launch the year-long commemoration on April 4, Easter Sunday. “Gifted to Give”, taken from Matthew’s Gospel (10:9), is the theme of the celebration.*PNA

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