MANILA - The Diocese of Maasin in Southern Leyte led Wednesday the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first Easter Mass in the Philippines by holding a Pontifical Mass at the Magallanes Shrine in Limasawa Island.
Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown, in a message read on his behalf, said the Church in the Philippines, after 500 years, is “invited anew to go forth and “become a community of authentic missionary disciples.”
Brown was supposed to be present at the event to deliver the homily. But, according to Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas, a Department of Foreign Affairs advisory requesting all officials of embassies in the country to restrict travel, precluded him from attending the occasion.
“The love of Christ made present in every celebration of the Holy Mass impels us to proclaim the Gospel we have received to all the world. It is in this sharing of the gift of faith with others that we can best express our thanksgiving to God who has loved us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered, died and rose again from the dead,” Brown said.
In his homily, Cantillas said the faithful can give thanks for the "great gift of faith and Eucharist" by making the effort to renew “our life as faithful disciple of Christ,” making the Holy Mass “as the center of our life” and “by being a Eucharist to others through simple acts of love and mercy for our neighbors.”
Cantillas expressed dismay at how decision-makers regard going to Holy Mass as not essential in this time of the pandemic, referring to restrictions on religious gatherings.
He said going to mass and celebrating the Eucharist “is our life,” is essential and the most important activity of our life.
Present during the occasion was Archbishop Emeritus of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, Archbishop Francesco Panfilo.