By Ryan Sorote

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma at the baptism of 100 children in Cebu City

The Archdiocese of Cebu has started its triduum activities leading to the celebration of the 500th year of the first baptisms in the Philippines.

The earliest recorded baptisms were of Rajah Humabon, Cebu’s chieftain, consort Juana, and some 800 of his followers on April 14, 1521 in Cebu.

The triduum or the three-day preparation started with the baptism of 100 children at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Cebu City.

Palma, in his homily, encouraged parents of the 100 newly baptized children to treasure the “new divine life” given through the sacrament of baptism, “so that your children will grow to be assets, good members of the community, and good members of the church.”

Palma said the children were still too young to understand the importance of their baptism and the grace they received from it, and told parents to remind them of this in the future.

“We don’t deserve the blessing that we receive,” he said. “And yet, because of God’s mercy, they (children) will receive new life (in baptism).”

Palma also reminded the parents of the significance of the celebration of the Divine Mercy Sunday, citing the revelations of Jesus to Saint Faustina.

“On this day, the feast of the Divine Mercy, all the divine floodgates, through which the graces flow are open,” the prelate explained.

He also reiterated what St. Pope John Paul II said “of the most powerful message” of the Divine Mercy: that through Jesus’ wounds and boundless love of his heart, humanity was “secured.”

There was also renewal of baptismal promises in all Sunday Masses in all parishes across Cebu as part of the triduum.

Activities include a motorcade in Cebu City, an art exhibit in SM City Cebu, and a cultural event at the grounds of Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, showcasing the history of the church.