In the Dominican Republic, the Catholic Church commemorated on January 5, 2019, the 525th anniversary of the first Mass that was celebrated on the American continent. The Salvadorian Cardinal Gregorio Rosa Chavez was chosen by Pope Francis to preside over the event.
Mass was celebrated for the first time in the history of the New World in La Isabela – a colony founded by Christopher Columbus near what is now the Dominican city of Puerto Plata – on January 6, 1494.
Fr. Bernardo Boil, the Franciscan apostolic delegate who sailed with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage, celebrated the first feast of the Epiphany in America, piously attended by 12 priests.
As the Holy Father recalled in his letter to Cardinal Chavez, this was "the beginning of the presence of Christ in His Body and in His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity on the American continent.”
The initiative for this commemoration came from Bishop Diomedes Espinal De León, bishop of the Dominican diocese of Mao-Monte Cristi, who asked Pope Francis to send an envoy in order to celebrate the event with due pomp.