On the 30th of May 2021 Bishop Michael Morrissey, joined by Fr Gerard Totañes (Bluff Point Parish Priest), Fr Bernard Balaraj (Cathedral Administrator) and Fr Larry Rodillas (Northampton Parish Priest), was the principal Celebrant at a special Mass celebrating 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, in the Parish of St Lawrence's, Bluff Point. The Mass was organised and facilitated by Fr Gerard Totañes and was held in the St Lawrence's School Undercover area to accommodate the large gathering.

The gathered Filippino Community celebrated the religious-historical beauty pagaent, Santacruzan, which is held across the country in the cities and villages of their homeland during the month of May. The custom began after the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854. As May is traditionally the month of Mary, the celebration is also knowna as Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May). The ritual commemorates the search of the Cross of Christ by Queen Helena and her son, Emperor Constantine, who had recently converted to Christianity. When the Cross was found in Jerusalem it was brought to Rome amidst great joy and thanksgiving.  

In his homily, Bishop Michael spoke of the Sign of the Cross, something we as Catholics are so familiar with and which defines us as Catholic Christians. The sign of the cross sums up a set of beliefs that we believe as Christians.  One being 'The Trinity'. We see the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit names in terms of a relationship and we are called to share in that relationship. To believe and at the same time live out the reality in our lives of faith.

Bishop went on explaining a little of what happened since the Sign of the Cross was first made in the Philippines 500 years ago when Ferdinand Magellan set foot in Cebu in 1521. Things certainly didn't always go smoothly, but what he himself noticed is the method that was used to convert the Filippino people. It was not by sword but by the cross and missionary zeal of the spanish, with the conversion, respected and used the culture and traditions of the people and in that way the people came to know and love Jesus within their culture and traditions, creating a Christian community in the Philippines that endures today. 

At the conclusion of his homily Bishop summed it all up with a quote from a websites he had been visiting 'Gifted to Give', one of the many sites set up for this celebration.

'Today the Philippines has a total of 86 archdioceses, dioceses, prelatures, and apostolic vicariates with over 80 million faithfuls. The Philippine church looks forward to 2021 on the 500th  year of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines, grateful for the triumphs as well as to tribulations, but more so for standing the test of time as an ever-faithful people of God.'