On December 1, 2019, exactly 500 days to April 14, 2021, marks the start of the historical countdown for the 500th Year Commemoration of the First Baptism in the country.
It was on April 14, 1521 that Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross and the first baptism was celebrated where the image of Sto. Niño was given to Queen Juana of Cebu.
The Archdiocese of Cebu organized the countdown in collaboration with the Augustinian friars of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
Most Rev. Jose S. Palma, D.D., Archbishop of Cebu, will lead the celebration by presiding the holy mass at 6:00 a.m. in front of the Magellan’s Cross kiosk.
Part of the celebration is the blessing of the Tindalo cross, a replica of the Magellan’s cross displayed at the kiosk. The Tindalo cross or the Jubilee Cross will be visiting the parishes of the Archdiocese of Cebu and other suffragan dioceses of Cebu together with the pilgrim image of Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu.
After the mass, a foot procession will be held passing through the P. Burgos St. going to the Metropolitan Cathedral, the first Church to be visited.
The countdown clock will also be unveiled during the send-off mass of the 500th commemoration of the first baptism.
This opening salvo is part of the preparations for the Quincentennial Anniversary of Philippine Christianization.
Meanwhile, 5:30AM and 7:00AM masses in the Basilica will be cancelled to give way for the said event.