Catholic dioceses across the country will designate “jubilee churches” for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the bishops’ conference, said dioceses will kick off the jubilee year by opening the pilgrim churches’ “holy door.”
“The jubilee year would open on Easter Sunday, remembering on this day the first recorded Eucharist celebrated in our land,” Archbishop Valles said.
The year-long celebration, he said, will then close on April 18 to 22 next year to coincide with the 2nd National Mission Congress, which is set in Cebu City.
The designation of pilgrim churches were among the key topics of the recent bishops’ virtual plenary assembly.
Archbishop Valles said this year’s activities would go as planned but with some modifications to follow health guidelines.
“On the liturgical side of the celebration, we will celebrate it according to the present health protocols,” he said.
This also means, according to him, that parishes will have to be more creative in their celebrations for people who cannot be accommodated in churches.
“The bishops are very concerned about the possible participation of many people… I hope the time will not come that authorities will say the public cannot attend,” he added.
In Manila, the archdiocese has already released the list of its 10 pilgrim churches to be the “centers of prayer, forgiveness, and charitable works”.
These include the Manila Cathedral, Quiapo Church, Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Guia, Archdiocesan Shrine of Sto. Niño de Tondo, and San Pablo Apostol Parish, all located in the city of Manila.
Two churches are in Makati City — the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.
The San Felipe Neri Parish in Mandaluyong City, San Clara de Montefalco Parish in Pasay City and St. John the Baptist Parish in San Juan City are also declared as jubilee churches.