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Limasawa in Southern Leyte marks 495th year of the First Mass

Limasawa Cross in Southern Leyte. PHOTO FROM NCCA.GOV.PH
The online news portal of TV5

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte - The 495th anniversary of the First Mass in the Philippines will be celebrated in the island town of Limasawa today, Thursday.

A simple celebration will usher the activity with the Opening of the Door of Mercy at the Holy Cross Chapel Shrine in the island before the mass to be officiated by Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin.

According to Nedgar Garvez, tourism officer of Southern Leyte, this year’s theme is “Eucharist, Gift of Mercy to the Family.”

“Being devout Catholics, Southern Leyte Governor Roger Mercado, Congressman Damian Mercado, and the Mercado family will be there in Limasawa to attend the Mass. They are in Limasawa yearly for this activity,” Garvez said.

The Sto. Niño de Cebu pilgrim image that arrived in the Diocese of Maasin last Monday will be joined by parishioners in the foot procession from the Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral to the port of Maasin which is about a kilometer distance.

From the port of Maasin, there will be a fluvial parade up to Magallanes village in Limasawa where the icon will be brought to the plaza for the Holy Mass.

The island of Limasawa was the site of the First Mass in the Philippines when Portuguese world explorer Ferdinand Magellan ended in the beautiful island looking for spices.

On Easter Sunday of 31 March 1521, Magellan ordered the expedition’s chaplain Fray Pedro de Valderrama to say the mass.

The event was seen to be the start of the Roman Catholicism in the Philippines.

In time for the celebration, there will be sail-boat race, and Nine-Man boat paddling race, aside from the Sinugdan Festival and the mass blessing of patrol boats from the Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The Catholic Church has declared the new era of evangelization for the life of the Church in the Philippines in preparation for th fifth centennial of the first mass in the Philippines and in the Far East on 31 March 2021, also an Easter Sunday.

For over a nine-year period since 2013, the nine pastoral priorities of the Church in the Philippines has the key themes especially formulated for this huge event.

After the Holy Mass officiated by Cantillas, the Holy Child Sto. Nino will be brought to Cebu City.

Limasawa, a sixth-class town with 6,500 population, was visited by the international cruise ship Caledonian Sky with 100 foreign guests on board who had a land excursion in the island.