By ZENIT Staff

Catholic churches in a central Philippine diocese will ring their bells in unison over the next week to mark the arrival of Christian faith on their island, reported CBCP News.

On March 17, exactly 499 years will have passed since Christianity first arrived in Eastern Samar’s Homonhon island in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

Masses will be held and bells will ring out in all of the Borongan diocese’s churches on the commemoration day.

“The ringing of our church bells will be an opportune moment to emphasize the centrality of worship, of faith and the ever-present and urgent challenge to ‘Live Christ and Share Christ’ in the various circumstances of our day,” the diocese said.

Homonhon is where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his men landed when they reached the archipelago, which prefigured the birth of Christianity in the country.

No other than Borongan Bishop Crispin Varquez will lead the two-day event that would also launch the diocese’s commemoration of the 2021 Jubilee.

On March 16, he will celebrate Mass at the Immaculate Conception Parish Church in Guiuan town, where lectures and exhibits will also be held.

Other activities include the launching of the local celebration’s logo and theme song.

On the following day, he will travel by boat to Homonhon for another Mass with the island’s residents.

The diocese has also called on parishes to conduct catechetical lectures to highlight the importance of the events that transpired, especially in Homonhon from March 17-25, 1521 “and their import to our present Catholic faith”.

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