As nation marks 500th year of Christianity this year

TACLOBAN CITY- As the country is to mark this year’s 500th founding of the Christianity, the Santo Niño Parish, this city, will give ‘emphasis’ on the less celebrated fiesta of the city held every January.
The city’s annual fiesta is observed every June 29-30 to honor the recovery of the image of the Santo Niño de Tacloban on June 30,1889 which was lost during a sea incident.
During this time, aside from Church-based activities, the city government of Tacloban and a private nongovernment organization, Pintados in partnership with the provincial government, stages their respective cultural activities like the Sangyaw Festival and Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival.
But unlike the June fiesta, the January fiesta of the city, which is marked on the coming of Christianity in Tacloban in 1770, is being for years now but almost unnoticed, said parish priest Father Wilson Chu.
Chu said that a nine-day novena, which is to start on Jan.14, will be held as part of the celebration with a Pontifical Mass to be held on Jan. 24 to be presided by Archbishop John Du of the Palo Archdiocese.
“We will not change our June 30 city fiesta but we will give emphasis our January fiesta as we observe the 500th year on the founding of our Christianity,” Chu said in a press conference Friday (Jan.8).
And in a statement, the Santo Niño Parish said: “In line with the celebration of the 500 years as a Christian nation, the parish has decided to relieve once again this rich cultural heritage that we have. In this way, we continue to show the world that the Christian faith has indeed grown in our Philippine soil and is cherished throughout generations.”
“Thus, the January fiesta is to celebrate the mystery of the childhood and birth of our Lord Jesus while the June fiesta is to commemorate the mystery of healing and grace intervention of the miraculous child,” it added.
Catholic churches in the country are ‘encouraged to go back on the origin of their Christian community’ as the Philippines marks the 500 founding of Christianity this year.
Incidentally, it is in Limasawa, an island town in Southern Leyte, where the First Mass took place on March 31,1521. A big celebration marking the event has been lined up by the Church.
Chu said that during this month celebration, the image of the Santo Niño de Tacloban will visit the villages of the city through a motorcade beginning on Jan.14 until Jan.23.
The faithful are encouraged to have their own Santo Niño images placed outside of their homes to be blessed by holy water. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)