MANILA — In a bid for Pinoy Christians to deepen their sense of history in appreciating the Catholic faith, a Catholic university is encouraging the public, particularly the younger generations, to join in its online lectures on church history, which were launched recently as a means of tracing the country’s journey to Catholicism since the arrival of the Spaniards in the archipelago early in the 16th century.
According to the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), they want people to know how Christianity spread in a country composed of thousands of islands and peopled by diverse tribes with different beliefs and traditions.
The series of online lectures, entitled “Philippine Church History Webinar Series,” started on 13 February and are being held every Saturday until 17 April. The culmination marks the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first set foot on the island of Homonhon. The enclave is now part of Guiuan Island in the Eastern Samar part of a Spanish expedition in 1521.
The lectures also aim to deepen a sense of history among Filipinos in appreciating the Catholic faith as a gift.
“The webinar series will examine and analyze the challenges and responses that the Church encountered as it expanded and developed throughout the Philippine islands,” UA&P said in a social media post.
Distinguished Catholic historians Paul Dumol and Grace Conception are among the speakers.
Dumol, a renowned playwright and author, discusses the beginnings of the Catholic Church with the Filipinos’ struggle for justice during the Spanish period. Conception is to discuss on 10 April the Church’s modern-day challenges such as post-modernism and relativism.
The seminars feature the works of American Jesuit historian Father John Schumacher, who taught history at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University for over 40 years. Clergymen are encouraging people to attend the webinars as part of an attempt to deepen the identity of Filipino Catholics.
“Part of being a Filipino Catholic is to know how and why we became Catholics. The online lectures will bring us back to our history, particularly how the faith was brought by Spanish friars to Philippine shores,” says Father Emman Afable of the Sorsogon Diocese.
Afable notes that not all parts of Catholic history in the Philippines are “virtuous” but nevertheless they are a part of history that needed to be studied and discussed.
“The Church is both divine and human. The humanity of the Church does not make it a perfect institution … Clergymen have committed mistakes. These too, have to be discussed so that we may learn from the past,” he enthused. (BG/Headline PH)
Featured image: The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has sustained findings that the Limasawa Island in Southern Leyte was the site of the 1521 Easter Sunday Mass, the first Catholic mass in the country. (Photo courtesy by Official Gazette PH)