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MAASIN CITY, Feb. 23 (PIA) -- The alter ego of Pope Francis in the country will be breaking bread and wine through the Eucharist among the faithful in the island-town of Limasawa, to repeat a historic scene that first happened 500 years ago on an Easter Sunday, March 31, 1521.

Weather permitting and barring any other hitches, Archbishop Charles John Brown, the new papal ambassador in the country, is expected to grace the quincentennial event, along with other visiting bishops and priests, according to Fr. Johnrey Sibi, head of the diocesan committee overseeing the church-based activities.

Based on the advance itinerary obtained by PIA, the ecclesiastical guests are expected to arrive by sunrise in the morning on the day of the celebration, by plane at Maasin airport, and at about the same time the pilgrim image of the Sto. Nino de Cebu will dock at the port of Maasin.

Both Manila-based and Cebu-based visitors will proceed to barangay Triana, Limasawa, riding on the same vessel from Cebu that carried the Sto. Nino.

At Triana, the papal nuncio executes his first act, which is to enshrine the Santo Nino de Limasawa, then bless the Retablo of the First Mass at the Triana Church, after which all roads shall then lead to barangay Magallanes, the site of the festivities.

By ten in the morning, the anniversary Mass will be held with Archbishop Brown as the main celebrant and a limited audience of 500 individuals as participants in keeping with social distancing protocol purportedly to halt the spread of covid-19.

Another highlight of the occasion will be the launching of the 500 years of Christianity (YOC) series of year-long activities to end March 31, 2022

Brown, 61, from New York, was appointed by Pope Francis September 28 last year as his ambassador to the Philippines, replacing the position vacated by Archbishop Gabrielle Caccia, who was named as head of the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission in the United Nations in November, 2019.

He assumed his post as the country’s apostolic nuncio in November, 2020, leaving a similar assignment in Albania. (mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)