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Limasawa captivates at 503rd Celebration

SLT 1257

March 23 – 29, 2024

There are two general charming qualities that Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte possesses. First, is its historical value being the place where the first Easter Mass in the Philippines was held. Second, is its world-class marine resources that lure international diving enthusiasts.March 31, 2024, marks the 503rd Anniversary of the First Easter Mass in the country. In the year 1521, the Ferdinand Magellan expedition made its way to the shores of Limasawa and interacted with the villagers which was highlighted by the Easter mass, according to historian Antonio Pigafetta’s accounts.

    The Mass was conducted by Father Pedro de Valderrama on Easter Sunday.    Every year on March 31, pilgrims and devotees converge on Limasawa Island to commemorate the historic event.The 503rd Anniversary celebration began on March 16 with the arrival of the images: Señor Santo Niño de Tacloban—El Teniente, Señor Santo Niño de Limasawa, and the Mahal nga Patrona—La Peregrina. 
    A fluvial procession from Burgos to Limasawa was held, with bankas from Limasawa welcoming the pilgrim images. Following the procession, a Eucharistic Celebration took place at the Diocesan Shrine of the First Mass and Holy Cross in Magallanes, Limasawa Island. Bishop Precioso Cantillas officiated the Mass. 
    During the ceremony, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño community was acknowledged and given tokens. The Kadayganan Dance Offering to the Mahal nga Patrona was also performed. 
    Pilgrimages of Prayer were offered by vicariates from March 17 to March 23, 2024. The celebration will continue with the Easter Vigil/Festival of Light on March 30, falling on Holy Saturday, where there will be a talk about the history of Limasawa and the beginning of the Christian faith in the Philippines. In the evening, a biblio dance drama will be performed. 
    Finally, on March 31, pilgrims and delegates from various churches will arrive at Limasawa to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the 503rd Anniversary of the First Easter Mass and Commissioning of the Lay Eucharistic Ministers of the Diocese which will be presided by Most. Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, and after which there will be a ground demonstration of the Sinugdan Festival. (DYbañez)

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