top of page

Homily in Celebration of the Opening of 500th Anniversary of the Christianity in the Philippines

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of Manila

We belong to a local church with deep historical roots. Today we are celebrating the 442nd anniversary of our being elevated to a diocese, the first in the country, having under its jurisdiction the entire country. This was decreed by Pope Gregory XIII. That was in 1579. Think about it, 1579! 442 years ago! 16 years later, in 1595 Pope Clement VIII raised Manila to an archdiocese, its suffragan dioceses being Nueva Segovia in the Ilocandia, Nueva Caceres in Bicol, and Cebu in the Visayas. This tells us that all the dioceses in our country came from Manila. The expansion of the Church in the Philippines started from Manila. This is a source of pride for us, but also a big challenge. So it is very appropriate that here in the archdiocese of Manila we open our 500th anniversary of the coming of Christianity in the Philippines on this day. However, we will also join in the national opening activities on Easter Sunday on April 4 with the opening of the Holy Doors all over the country.

RCAM's logo in celebration of the 500th Year of Christianity in the Philippines.

The theme of this year is MISSIO AD GENTES. May this celebration spur us on to continue this expanding mission of Manila to which we are all heirs to. The word expansion has a negative connotation. It smacks of colonialism; it brings in the idea of domination – yes imperial Manila! It gives the taste of accumulation of wealth, of prestige, and even of primacy. But we are speaking not of expansion itself but of expansion of the mission. St. Paul tells us that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. “But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” Let all hear that Jesus is Lord. Let our voice go forth to all the earth and our words to the ends of the world. This is our ever pressing mandate from the Lord himself.