ROXAS CITY, Capiz – As the Philippine Church celebrates 500 years since the arrival of the Christian faith in this archipelago, Manila Archbishop-elect Jose Cardinal Advincula pointed out the need for deeper reflection on the history of the Church in the Philippines as it demands a sense of renewal.
The outgoing Capiz Archbishop, noting that there are definitely “ups and downs” in the 500-year-old history of the local Church, said that the Easter liturgy is an opportune time for such reflection.
“As we recollect the history of the Church in our country and in discerning our current setting, we cannot deny the fact that as individuals, as an institution and as a people, we do need a continuous renewal,” Cardinal Advincula said in Hiligaynon in his homily during the Easter Vigil mass here at the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral on Sunday, April 4.
“If there is no renewal then we would tend to forget, get weak and our services and zeal for Godly things would become cold and tasteless,” he added.
Notably, this year’s Easter Sunday falls on April 4, Cardinal Advincula’s anniversary as an ordained priest. He was ordained in the Cathedral here in 1976.
The Cardinal reiterated that despite its imperfections, the Risen Lord will always be on the side of the Church.
Notably, apart from the quincentennial celebration of Christianity in the Philippines, the local Church of Capiz, this year, celebrates its 70th year as a diocese and 45th as an Archdiocese.
Made a diocese through Pope Pius XII’s bull “Ex Supremi Apostalutus” in 1951, Capiz has grown into a fruitful community of faith in the past 70 years. Three of the Capiz diocese’s priestly sons would become archbishops of Manila: Msgr. Gabriel Reyes, Jaime Cardinal Sin and Archbishop-elect Cardinal Advincula.
The latter two were ordained priests by the first Archbishop of Capiz, Msgr. Antonio Frondosa.
Moreover, the ninth Filipino Cardinal also exhorted the faithful to set their eyes on the next 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
“The triumph of the Church in the next 500 years lies in our hands,” the 69-year-old Prelate said, adding that the faithful’s attitude should be like that of Jesus upon carrying his Cross, “humbly, lovingly and trustingly.”
Meanwhile, during the Easter Sunday mass here, the Cardinal also formally opened the Jubilee Door at the Cathedral for the Extraordinary Holy Year granted by Pope Francis on the event of the Philippines’ celebration of the 500 years of Christianity.
Last February 25, Pope Francis issued a decree addressed to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) granting a plenary indulgence to Catholics who will make a pilgrimage to at least one of the jubilee churches, go to confession, receive communion, and have prayed for the Pope’s intentions.
A Holy Year, also known as a Jubilee, usually happens once every 25 years unless a Pope calls an extraordinary jubilee year to call the attention of a particular issue or to celebrate a momentous event.
During a Jubilee, Catholics can obtain special “indulgences” or the remission of their sins if they fulfil certain conditions and do good works or make pilgrimages.
An indulgence is the remission of punishments for sins that are already forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Filipino Catholics may visit 537 pilgrimage churches in the country under 85 dioceses from April 4, 2021 to April 22, 2022. In the Archdiocese of Capiz, here are the following parishes included in the list: Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral (Roxas City, Capiz); St. Monica Church (Panay, Capiz); St. Joseph the Worker Church (President Roxas, Capiz); St. Martin of Tours Church (Dumalag, Capiz); St. Catherine of Alexandria Church (Mambusao, Capiz) and; St. Thomas of Villanova Church (Dao, Capiz). (Caritas et Prudentia)