PH at the top of most baptisms of young children

The Archbishop of Cebu, José Palma, administering the sacraments to a child on April 11, 2021 at the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The baptism is part of the celebrations of the 500 years of Christianity of the church. | CDN digital photo by Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines – 500 years ago, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made history when he introduced Roman Catholicism to the archipelago.

Rajah Humabon, then ruler of Cebu, his wife Hara Humamay (also known today as Queen Juana) and several of their subjects were the first to be baptized and introduced into the Christian community.

The growing number of Catholics in the country would not stop there.

The Philippine Conference of Catholic Bishops (CBCP), in a recent report, said the Philippines is the country with the highest number of infant baptisms in the world.

The CBCP, citing reports from the Catholic News Service, said the country recorded 1.6 million baptisms of children aged seven years below in 2019.

Mexico, with 1.48 million baptized infants, came in second. It was followed by Brazil with 1.05 million, the United States with 595,285 and Colombia with 442,396, he added.

The Philippines also remained the only Asian country to be in the top five countries with the most people baptized as Catholics in 2019, the CBCP said.

It ranked third after registering 89 million Catholics, next to Mexico with 116 million. Brazil tops the list with 177 million Catholics baptized in 2019.

The United States with 74 million and Italy with 57.8 million were also in the top five list.

Today, Wednesday April 14, 2021, the country commemorates the 500th anniversary of the first baptism that took place here.

The ceremony will take place near the Magellan’s Cross in Plaza Sugbo in downtown Cebu.

It will also mark the culmination of the Cebu stage of the national celebrations of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines (500 YOC).

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/ bmjo

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