Filipino Catholics — priests, nuns, religious, and lay people — are reminded to continue sharing the Good News of Christ as missionaries as the country officially ends the celebrations of the 500th year of the arrival of Christianity.
“After 500 years, having heard and shared, and having received the gift of faith … that spirit of excitement, that spirit of joy, (is) something that should not be held in us. We know that has to be shared, that has to be brought to the brothers and sisters,” said Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu.
The prelate was speaking at the opening of the Second National Mission Congress in Cebu City on April 17. The weeklong event, which will officially close the celebrations for the “500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines,” will end on April 24.
Archbishop Palma likened the roles of missionaries to that of Mary Magdalene in the Gospel and the two disciples who ran to the tomb of Jesus and who first learned of his resurrection.
“May we, like the first who had encountered Him, be eager and joyful because we know we have been privileged to meet the Lord, we have been privileged to receive blessings and it is as well, a privilege to share what we have received,” said the archbishop.
“In God’s plan, nothing can be more significant than launching the conference and mission on the day of the Resurrection,” noted Archbishop Palma in his address.
The weeklong conference on the theme “Gifted to Give” was organized under the auspices of the Episcopal Commission on Mission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Archbishop Palma said that during the gathering, “We will be reflecting more on the significance of [Christ’s resurrection], which is certainly difficult to fathom: a [dead] man risen from the dead – and what it means to all of us.”
“We know the week promises many of all the wonderful insights we want to hear,” he said as he invited everybody to “pray that above all, we open our hearts to the grace of God, that He who is Risen, and He who reveals to us that indeed He offers us new life.”
The quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines on March 15, 1521, was extended for another year due to the coronavirus pandemic.