By Ben Serrano
SURIGAO CITY- Roman Catholic’s St. Paul University here will host a three-day June 7-9, 2018 Forum on First Easter Mass held in PH soil on March 31, 1521 some 498 years ago.
The first Holy Mass held in Philippine soil, according to historians and church leaders, paved the way for the spread of Christianity not only in the Philippines but in Asia.
The theme of the three day activity chosen was, Revisiting History: The Birth of the Filipino Church March 31, 1521.
During that meeting last Friday held at the Office of the St. Paul University System, Chancellor Sister Marie Rosanne Mallillin, president of St. Paul University, Surigao City, said hosting of the first mass forum is an honor at the same time a huge challenge as well as responsibility of a Catholic learning institution like St. Paul University.
“I felt this is a responsibility of a Catholic University to be a venue in the continuing search to seek and solve the almost a century old controversy. The first two days of the conference will be scheduled visit/ocular, on all sites/places by Proponents of the First Easter Mass,” added Sister Mallillin.
The visit on the first day will be to Limasawa, Southern Leyte and to include the Municipality of Tubay, Magallanes, formerly part of the 1521 Butuan and the City of Butuan.
The 3rd day will be the forum proper were all Proponents of the First Easter Mass shall by draw lots presents and to prove their individual claims.
They will be before, renowned archaeologist, geologist, historians foreign and local. Representatives from the National Historical Commission, National Museum of the Philippines, Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture & the Arts, Philippine National Historical Society Inc., Leaders from the Legislative Branch of Government and others.
“All presenters, proponents shall also be subjected to questions from among the presenters. We take no sides, we are a learning institution. We just wanted it to be researched and studied well,” claimed the SPU president nun, who is also Surigao City St. Paul’s Hospital Director.
“The significance of the first mass ever held in Philippine soil is huge for us Roman Catholics as a holy mass is considered the highest form of prayer and is actually the center of celebration of our faith. “So it is only right that this forum will be held in a Catholic University like us,” Mallilin added.
Those who attended the preparatory meeting held at St. Paul University Surigao City were officials of Surigaonon Heritage Foundation headed by its president and historian Fernando Almeda, Jr. and Dr. Irenetta C. Montinola, Dr. Lucy L. Teves, Dean, St. Paul’s University and other academic leaders.
Equipped with State of the Art, fully Air-Conditioned St Paul University Gym in Barangay Luna, Surigao City is the venue of June 7-9, 2018 forum where some 400 Roman Catholic officials and priests, foreigners and local guests are expected to attend. Representatives from the Embassy of Spain and the Embassy of Portugal are set to be invited.
“This will be a big event as this will not only be a matter of history now but some spirituality in it. Those who will not attend will surely missed this once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Surigaonon Heritage Center president and historian Fernando Almeda, Jr.