The provincial government, represented by Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates, was honored with a plaque for its support of the year-long commemoration of the 400 Years of Christianity (YOC) in Palawan.
The celebration commemorates four centuries of the presence and influence of Christianity in the province, emphasizing its historical and cultural importance.
Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles John Brown, led the ceremony, joined by clergy members from the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa (AVPP), Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay (AVT), and others.
On August 24, a day prior to the culmination of the year-long festivities, the Thanksgiving Mass took place at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puerto Princesa.
Participants from diverse parishes, city and provincial authorities, including Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Vice Mayor Maria Nancy Socrates, along with local residents, were present at the mass.
To honor Archbishop Brown, a welcome dinner with a cultural presentation was hosted by the provincial government. This event, held at the Ambassador Hall of the Citystate Asturias Hotel, brought together local government officials and spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church.
Governor Socrates expressed that the gathering was a rare occasion, as the last one occurred in 1972 during the celebration of the Tricentennial Year of Christianity in Cuyo. He highlighted the significance of Archbishop Brown’s visit, as it marked the first visit by a papal nuncio for a Christianity year celebration in Palawan’s history.
“The next commemoration will be 50 years from now. Definitely, beyond my lifetime, so, I am enjoying and savouring this moment,” he said.
He emphasized that beyond its religious significance, the event highlights the unity of the Palaweño community, showcasing the intertwined spiritual and communal strength of the people of Palawan. The commemoration of 400 years of Christianity, he explained, is a reflection of their shared values and the resilience that has bound them together throughout history.
Bishop Mesiona conveyed gratitude to the provincial government for its support of the 400 Years of Christianity celebration. He also expressed hope that the celebration will not be the last that Archbishop Brown will again visit Palawan.
Archbishop Brown, on the other hand, shared his fascination with Palawan’s natural beauty and was pleased by the kindness and warmth of the residents of Palawan, making his visit all the more pleasant.
“This is such an amazing place, you should be so proud, and I know you [all] are. The true richness of the island is the people here. The warmth and hospitality is truly something that I am glad I’ve experienced here in Palawan,” he said.
The evening’s program concluded with performances by Palawan Performing Arts, Cebu’s vocalist and virtuoso violinist Brian Cimafranca, The Nightiangles, and tenor Ervin Lumauag.