Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cebu: Cradle of Philippine Catholicism

The Basilica del Sto. Nino de Cebu. Photo source: Google.
Aside from being dubbed as the Queen City of the South, an indication of its being considered a highly industrialized city second to Manila, and as a commercial hub with world class international ports and amenities making its paradisiacal natural beauty in the countryside areas easily accessible to tourists, Cebu City also holds the title of being the cradle of Philippine Catholicism. 

It was in this very city that the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who served for the King of Spain almost five hundred years ago planted the cross that would begin for the Christianization of the Cebu natives and of the rest of the Philippine Islands later on. Today a shrine stood at the very spot where Magellan had first planted the Cross of Christianity, which served as a marker, located just a few meters away from the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino church.

But for most of the Filipino people, the Cebuanos (natives of Cebu) particularly, the Shrine of Magellan’s cross didn’t only serve as a concrete marker for them and for the rest of the world to see, but a symbol they were able to bring to life by making alive the Faith entrusted to them. Devotion to the Infant Jesus has never been more alive, active, and popular than in Cebu. The annual Sinulog festival held every third Sunday of January should be the mother of all the Santo Nino Feasts.

Cebu is also home to the surviving old European-style churches and other architectures--a concept brought in/introduced by European friars and colonizers--and can also be found in other parts of the country.  But it’s not only in the building of these massive churches by the friars of the colonial-era Philippines in Cebu and anywhere in the Philippine Islands for the Faith to continue to thrive but as well, most importantly, in the capacity and ability of the Cebuanos and the rest of the Filipino people to nurture, preserve, and protect the wholeness and catholicity of such a Faith.

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