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Limasawa after typhoon Odette, 501 yrs of Christianity

SOUTHERN LEYTE – The religious tourism island of Limasawa was badly battered during super typhoon Odette (Rai, its international name) last December 16, 2021, leaving 90% of the houses destroyed (SLT issue 1126). Three and a half months hence, Limasawa has at most 45% recovery, according to Southsea travel proprietor Emily Tobio Pagangpang who is a Limasawa tourism specialist. However, as of this writing, only two of the six barangays have electricity.
Mobile and internet connection is also very limited, and the municipality’s water is dependent on deep well pump, Pagangpang said.
Limasawa became a municipality on August 27, 1989, with 6 barangays. Barangay Magallanes is believed to be where the first Christian Easter Mass in the Philippines was held on March 31, 1521. The barangay is the worst hit among the six villages, where all of the houses were damaged by typhoon Odette.
This year marks the 501th year celebration of the First Christian Catholic Mass. For this occasion, twelve candidates will be ordained to priesthood by Most Reverend Precioso D. Cantillas, Bishop of Maasin, on March 30, 2022 at 4:30 in the afternoon at the Diocesan Shrine of the Holy Cross and the First Mass, Magallanes, Limasawa.
The celebration started last early morning of March 22 with a motorcade of the Sto. Niño de Limasawa from the Maasin Cathedral to Padre Burgos, then to the Magallanes port in Limasawa, and Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Bishop Cantillas. The activity ended in feeding and sharing of goods by the Saint Joseph College Community Extension to Magallanes households. This is followed by an eight-day Novena Masses, March 23 to 30.
On March 30, there is a novena mass and Ordination to the Priesthood during the Holy Sacrifice Mass by Reverend Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas and Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines. At 8 o’clock in the evening Diocesan Youth led by Fr. Merwin Kangleon hosts a festival of light.
On March 31 is the 501st Anniversary of the First Easter Mass and closing celebration of the 500 Year of Christianity (YOC), with Archbishop Charles Brown, as presider, and Bishop Cantillas will lead the Holy Sacrifice Mass and Commissioning of the Lay Eucharistic Ministers of the Diocese. After the Mass is the blessing of the Gawad Kalinga Village with the Papal Nuncio.
There are things to be prepared in attending the activity: Vaccination card, ID for pilgrims, medical certificate for unvaccinated individuals, Php50 environmental fee, P150 one-way boat fare. Expected participants are the 100 faithful per Vicariate as Novena Pilgrims, 500 youth delegates on the 30th and 31st of March (10) per parish, 500 Lay Eucharistic Ministers for the Commissioning on March 31 (10 person per parish). Accommodations: bring tent or banig for overnight stay and bring your own food/meal packs.

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