THE city’s over half million-strong Roman Catholics will mark their archdiocese’s 100th founding anniversary on April 10 with a Eucharistic celebration at the Our Lady of Pillar Shrine at Fort Pilar.
Archbishop Romulo Valles will lead the ceremonies which will also kick-off a three-year jubilee celebration to mark the golden anniversary of the archdiocese’s elevation from a diocese in 1958 as well as the issuance of a papal bull in 1910 that established the first diocese of Mindanao in Zamboanga.
Representatives from the archdiocese’s 23 parishes led by their parish priests will attend the Holy Mass at 5:30 in the afternoon. But activities at the shrine will commence at 4:00 P.M. when the Ateneo de Zamboanga University band will start a musical performance. During a short program just prior to the mass, the jubilee logo, theme song and slogan will be launched and the history and pastoral declaration of the jubilee will be read as well.
“This is a good occasion to reflect on our Christian faith, its centrality in our lives and which has shaped us into who we are as Zamboanguenos”, Archbishop Valles said in an interview. Let us utilize the celebration “to thank for the gift of faith, to unite around our common identity, make our faith so strong and with confidence reach out to people of other faiths” in the region, the archbishop added.
The jubilee theme is “Remembering the Past with Gratitude, Living the Present in Communion, Facing the Future with Renewed Faith”. It has been translated into Chavacano as “Acordando antes con gratitud, Viviendo el presente en comunion, y Enfrentando el futuro con nuevo espiritu”.
Youth groups will also stage dances and sing hymns during the preliminary program on Thursday afternoon.
Parish churches will toll the bell at 8:00 A.M. on Thursday to mark the occasion, too.
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad, Ipil Bishop Julius Tonel, and Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon will join the Eucharistic celebration as special guests. City government officials are also invited.
Archbishop Valles said during the three years of the double jubilee, pilgrimages will be made to the churches of Ayala, Mercedes, and Tetuan parishes along with the visitation of the jubilee cross. The other pilgrimage sites are the Our Lady of the Pillar shrine and the Metropolitan cathedral. These sites were chosen for their significance to local Catholic church history.
In a pastoral letter issued at the start of the year, Archbishop Valles remarked: “This is a time of great jubilee for us, the people of God in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. It is a rare occasion, a special time, in fact, a season of grace for us, a time of favor from the Lord. Following biblical and church tradition, now is the moment to look back to the past and to remember the original grace with gratitude, to reflect on and sanctify the present, and to shape the future and usher in a new beginning with renewed hope and spirit”.