Filipinos celebrate 500 years of Christianity

Friday 01 April 2022

By Laura Vallejo

Intermountain Catholic

BOUNTIFUL – To celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines, which was March 17, Filipinos in the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City will hold a Sinulog Festival on April 24 which will include a mass, video presentation, folk dances and a celebration of traditional foods.

Christianity was brought to the Philippines by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who arrived in the Visayan region in 1521.

In Utah, “where there are not so many Catholics and not so many Filipinos, to be able to have the chance to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines is a great blessing from God,” said pastor Father Joshua Santos. of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ogden. He and other members of the Filipino community in Utah organize the festival.

A Sinulog festival is a traditional celebration to honor the Christ Child. During the festival, a dance ritual tells the story of the Filipino people’s pagan past and how they came to accept Christianity.

“I felt strongly connected with my fellow Filipinos in the Philippines to celebrate this great milestone in the history of the Catholic Church,” the father said. said Santos.

Although his home country is smaller than California in terms of size, it is recognized as the third-largest Catholic country in the world after Brazil and Mexico, which “is just amazing,” the father said. . said Santos. “I am so proud to be Catholic. I’m so proud to be Filipino.

In the Philippines, the anniversary has resulted in a year-long celebration that began last April and will continue until April 22 this year. For the celebration, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has chosen the theme “Gifted to Give”.

The gift of faith was given to Filipinos in 1521, “and after 500 years we continue to share the gift we have received all over the world,” the father said. said Santos.

As a Filipino priest, “I feel that I share the gift of my person and the gift of my priesthood with the various communities that I have served since my arrival here in Utah,” he added.

While in Utah, he ministered in Salt Lake City and Logan as well as Ogden.

“Even though I am not in the Philippines, I carry with me the values ​​and virtues that I learned and loved when I was in my country, the values ​​and virtues of joy, gratitude, hospitality, hard work, industry and, above all, faith,” he said, adding that he shared them wherever he went.

Being able to celebrate the Catholic faith in the midst of diversity and all the things the world is going through is also a gift from God, he said.

“I firmly believe that there is so much beauty in diversity. We don’t need uniforms to be united. Each individual is unique; no two people are exactly alike,” he said, adding that “recognizing the beautiful diversity in the diocese [of Salt Lake City] is more a gift than a curse.

Through diversity, people have the opportunity to “see the beauty and richness of others, it allows you to grow when you appreciate diversity. In diversity, we enhance what is beautiful and eliminate all that is sinful,” Fr. Santos said, inviting everyone to attend the Sinulog Festival.

“We want everyone to see who we are and who will be expressed in our different cultural dances, in our food and especially in our smiles. So please join us in this beautiful event,” he said.

WHAT: Sinulog Festival

WHEN: Sunday, April 24, from 5 p.m.

OR: St. Olaf’s Catholic Church, 276 East 1700 South, Bountiful

Free and open to the public.

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