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Philippines: Church Launches Year of Youth

Approaching 500th Anniversary of Arrival of Christianity in Philippines

The Church in the Philippines inaugurated the Year of Youth on the Solemnity of Christ the King and announced the National Youth Day 2019. The Episcopal Conference has officially announced that 2019 will be the Year of Youth which will end on November 24, 2019, as part of the “nine-year journey for New Evangelization”, in preparation for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines (1521-2021).

As Fides News Agency reported November 26, 2018, Archbishop José Palma of Cebu said: “In celebrating the Year of Youth and Youth Day we intend to bring more people to follow Jesus”. The year 2019, he said, “is dedicated to young people who are the future but also the present of the Church. With their active participation in society and in the life of the Church, they inspire us all for evangelization and social transformation.”

In the process of preparation for the Jubilee celebrations of 2021, the first years were dedicated to the “integral formation of the faith” (2013), to the laity (2014), to the poor (2015), to the Eucharist and to the family (2016), and to the parish as communion of community (2017). The year 2018 was dedicated to the clergy and consecrated persons while, after the Year of Youth (2019), the last two years will be dedicated to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue (2020) and to the missio ad gentes (2021).

Archbishop Palma said: “We await with gratitude and joy March 16, 2021, the fifth centenary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines. We remember with gratitude the first Mass celebrated on the island of Limasawa, on Easter Sunday, March 31 of that year. We remember the baptism of Rajah Humabon, who was given the baptism name Carlos and his wife Harah Amihan who was baptized Juana in 1521. Our eyes look at the Santo Niño de Cebu, the oldest religious icon of the Philippines, a gift from Ferdinando Magellano to the first Filipino Catholics. 2021 will be a year of great Jubilee for the Church in the Philippines”.

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