500 years of Christianity: Churches 'manifestation' of God’s presence

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 01 2021 02:29 PM

Catholics celebrate anticipated Simbang Gabi at Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on December 15, 2020. Authorities have allowed to shorten curfew hours in Metro Manila amid under General Community Quarantine this December to make way for Simbang Gabi. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - As the Catholic Church celebrates the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, the faithful are urged to see churches “as venues where God has touched the lives of people.

Churches can be seen as the concrete manifestation of God’s presence and the growth of faith, the people and its impact on culture, said Fr. Milan Ted Torralba, executive secretary of the CBCP Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Church.

“So when we consider in its entirety, we look at these churches as venues where God has touched the lives of people. In Latin we would say the transitus Dei, the transit, the passing of God," Torralba said in a virtual news forum. 

"So when God passes at a certain point in life, at a certain point in history, we see the concrete manifestation of His presence and this monumental manifestation of the presence would be the churches, monumental in the sense, of the fact that it’s an edifice, whether it began as something small or and then it grows organically but we see the growth of faith, the growth of the people, the growth of the culture impacted by the coming of that faith and the interplay of culture and faith that gives rise to what we now call cultural heritage."

He added, "So when we look at the entire scheme of things it is part of what we would say part of divine providence, that there is a certain definitive destiny not only for the churches but for the people that built those churches, for the people that is being real church.”

The national quincentennial celebration of the First Easter Mass in the Philippines on April 4, 2021 will serve as the kick-off event of the Catholic Church’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines (500 YOC) with all parishes all over the Philippines observing the simultaneous opening of the Jubilee Year.

Designated churches in every diocese will have Jubilee churches where the Jubilee doors will be opened.

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