Papal Nuncio to celebrate 500th Easter Sunday Mass in Limasawa, S. Leyte

Vatican City’s Ambassador to the Philippines will be celebrating mass in the island-town of Limasawa, Southern Leyte to recreate and commemorate the historical mass that occurred 500 years ago on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1521.

Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new papal ambassador in the country, is scheduled to grace the quincentennial affair.

This is part of the Philippines’ 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations (2021 QCP) this month. The 2021 QCP is a series of activities commemorating the 500th anniversary of historical events in the Philippines among them the introduction of Christianity in the country, the Magellan–Elcano circumnavigation, and Lapu-Lapu’s success in the Battle of Mactan.

The ecclesiastical guests for the mass are scheduled to arrive by plane at Maasin airport on the day of the festival. The pilgrim image of the Sto. Nino de Cebu is expected to dock at Maasin port in the morning of the same day as well. Visitors from both Manila and Cebu will sail to Limasawa’s barangay Triana on the same vessel that transported the Sto. Nino.

The papal nuncio’s first act in Triana is to enshrine the Santo Nino de Limasawa, during which he will bless the Retablo of the First Mass at the Triana Cathedral, and then all paths will lead to barangay Magallanes, where the festivities will take place.

The anniversary mass will be conducted at 10 AM with Archbishop Brown as the chief celebrant and a small crowd of 500 people as attendees. Social distancing measures will be observed.

Brown, a 61-year-old New Yorker, was appointed as Pope Francis’ ambassador to the Philippines on September 28 of last year, succeeding Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, who was named head of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission in the United Nations in November of 2019. He took over as the country’s apostolic nuncio in November 2020, after serving in a similar capacity in Albania.