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Pope grants anniversary request from Cebu archbishop

Archdiocese can declare 2021 a special jubilee to mark 500 years of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines

Pope grants anniversary request from Cebu archbishop

Pope Francis has agreed to a request from Cebu Archdiocese in the Philippines to declare 2021 a special jubilee year to mark 500 years since the arrival of Christianity in the country. (Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

Pope Francis has granted a request by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to declare a special jubilee year with an attached plenary indulgence to churchgoers who participate in celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

Also known as a holy year, a jubilee year in the Church is a celebration of very special events, usually with a religious background or origin.

“In commemoration of the 500 years of the arrival of Christianity in the Archdiocese of Cebu, His Holiness Pope Francis, through a decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, has graciously granted a request … to declare within the archdiocese a special jubilee year, along with the attached plenary indulgence,” announced the archdiocese on social media.

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The pope has also granted Archbishop Palma the authority to grant his papal blessing to churchgoers who participate in the jubilee celebrations from April 4, 2021, to April 22, 2022.

A plenary indulgence will also be given to churchgoers who attend festivities and church services during those dates.

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints,” Cebu Archdiocese said, quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The archdiocese said indulgence would be given under usual conditions like when one goes to confession, receives communion or prays for the pope’s intentions.

Visiting churches declared by the archdiocese as pilgrimage sites also entitled a churchgoer to receive the indulgence.

“The plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful under the usual conditions to Christians who, with a spirit detached from any sin, participate in the jubilee year celebrations and/or who devotedly make a visit, in the form of a pilgrimage, to the 12 declared pilgrim churches,” Cebu Archdiocese added.

The archdiocese had declared 12 churches throughout Cebu province as pilgrimage sites.

Activities would include the re-enactment of the arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the island as well as the Battle of Mactan where Magellan died.

Clergymen were hopeful churchgoers would join the celebrations despite pandemic protocols.

“We pray for that as the entire Church in the Philippines, and in particular the Church in Cebu, the cradle of Christianity in the Far East, looks forward to the fifth centenary of its evangelization,” said Cebu priest Father Mhar Balili.

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