Community celebrates 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines | PHOTOS

More than 200 people attended an event in the hall at St John's Campus of Samaritan College at Whyalla last month to celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.

Filipino people from across South Australia were present to celebrate the anniversary of the Spanish bringing Christianity to the country.

Half of the attendees made their way up to Whyalla from Adelaide and they were joined by others from Port Pirie, Crystal Brook, Port Germein, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Roxby Downs, Kadina, Port Hughes, and even interstate, with people from Melbourne and Western Australia.

On March 31, 1521 the first mass in the Philippines took place at Limasawa, with the first baptism on April 16 in Cebu.

Missionaries joined the Magellan-Elcano expedition, with only Padre Pedro de Valderrama reaching the Philippine archipelago.

He celebrated that first recorded mass and baptism.

Whyalla's Filipino community did the preparation with the help of parish priest Father Paul Quirk and event organiser Father Francis Montero of Roxby Downs.

The Philippine Consul for South Australia Darryll Johnson graced the occasion with a kind and inspiring message.

The highlight of the event was the Solemn Pontifical Mass presided by Bishop Karol Kulczycki of the Diocese of Pirie.

Concelebrating with him were Bishop-Emeritus Gregory O'Kelly, vicar general and Port Augusta parish priest Father Jim Monaghan, Quorn parish priest Father Harold Camonias, Booleroo Centre parish priest Father Ramel Morales, and Fr Montero.

Bishop Kulczycki gave his message towards the end of the mass and even said "Pagpalain kayo ng Panginoon" - which translates to "May God bless you".

The Couples for Christ of South Australia provided the music for the praise and worship, and the mass.

After lunch there were speeches from Bishop-Emeritus O'Kelly, Fr Monaghan, Mr Johnson and Fr Morales - on behalf of the Filipino priests in the diocese.

There were performances from the Filipinos of Whyalla, FCA and Sampaguita Group from Adelaide, which provided entertainment in the afternoon.

The support of the parish through Fr Quirk and Samaritan College through their principal Damian Judd helped to make the event run smoothly, while the campus gym at the college was a great venue for such a historic event.

This story Community celebrates 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines | PHOTOS first appeared on Whyalla News.