CEBU CITY – The Archdiocese of Cebu announced on Tuesday that only 700 people will be allowed to join and witness the First Baptism reenactment on April 14, 2021 in this city.
The event will be part of the quincentenary celebrations of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
The announcement was made during the Chrism Mass and renewal of priestly vows at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Speaking during the event, Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili, secretary-general for the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC) of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said the city government and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases have allowed the event to push through, given that stringent health protocols will be imposed.
The First Baptism ceremony will be held at the Magellan’s Cross at Plaza Sugbo in downtown Cebu City at 2 p.m. on April 14.
Organizers will be closing all roads within the 300-meter radius of Plaza Sugbo, and will be limiting the maximum number of guests to 700.
Balili said the participants will include 300 people who will attend the Mass, including the concelebrating priests, and 400 people composed of ministers, policemen, ushers, technical group, media, and first aid personnel.
Organizers will also implement a no-car pass, no-entry policy, and only authorized vehicles are allowed to enter and pass near Plaza Sugbo.
Palma expressed his happiness and excitement that the Archdiocese is marking the quincentennial anniversary of Christianity’s arrival in the Philippines despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.
“If there’s an epicenter of Covid, there is also an epicenter of the celebration for the 500 Years of Christianity and that is Cebu. We are Cebu. We are the epicenter and the heart of the celebration and the remembrance 500 years ago, the first baptism was held here in Cebu,” Palma said in a mix of Cebuano and English during his Homily.
Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown will also preside over the Pontifical Mass after the reenactment, which will be followed by cultural celebrations at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu. (PNA)