The local community of Barangay San Benito in Lipa City gathered joyfully Sunday, May 25, to witness the blessing of a new chapel dedicated to Saint Benedict at Purok 1 & 2 in Sitio Olaveha.
The momentous event was made more special with the presence of no less than the Archbishop of Lipa, Most Reverend Ramon C. Arguelles who led the blessing rite, assisted by Reverend Father Onofre Pantoja, pastor of San Isidro Labrador Parish where the local community belongs.
Some 300 to 400 local parishioners and guests were in attendance, and the latter included officers and Board members of Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc., including its President, Mrs. Noemi L. Saludo, Mr. Ricardo L. Saludo, Lucia Villapando, and Sesenia Olivar. The Foundation funded the construction of the new chapel as part of its ongoing ‘Handog Kapilya’ (Gift of a Chapel) Program begun in 2012.
In his homily, Archbishop Arguelles thanked the local community and Bahay ng Diyos Foundation for the new chapel, which he hoped to be a venue not only for liturgical activities, but also for pastoral and catechetical activities, especially for children and the youth.
Father Pantoja thanked the Foundation and requested if the latter can also help build another chapel for a remote part of the parish, which is situated in a mountainous area.
A marker was unveiled after the Holy Communion for posterity, after which Mrs. Saludo took the opportunity to thank everyone who have been a part of this endeavor.
The San Benito Chapel in Purok 1 & 2, Sitio Olavehan, Barangay San Benito is accessible from the D.P. Laygo main road.
With the grace of our Lord, we were able to visit the damaged church of Saint Michael the Archangel Parish in Clarin, Bohol last Monday, May 5, 2014, after we went to Maribojoc’s patronal fiesta.
Clarin parish priest Father Johnson Inte brought us to the place, showed us the damage on the parish church, and discussed with us how the local community intends to reconstruct the edifice. It will be a new structure, and the cost involved is so much, estimated at 30 to 40 million pesos. The local industry is fishing and farming, and despite the limited resources, the parish community was able to raise a considerable amount of three million pesos, which they will use to start building their new church. They hope to do this by September, in time for the feast of their Patron, Saint Michael the Archangel.
But so much financial help is need to complement their local fundraising, and upon Bishop Leonardo Medroso’s request, Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc. will help raise funds for the church construction.
Only the facade and wall behind the sanctuary were left standing, and the most part of the church caved in when the strong quake of October 15, 2013 hit Bohol. Fortunately, no one was inside when the destruction happened.
They now have a makeshift ‘church’ erected on the right side of the ruins, and they have salvaged the religious images, including the image of Saint Michael, from the rubble. Also retrieved were most of the wooden pews and stained glass on the church facade, all of which are now installed in the makeshift church.
Father Inte was also enterprising enough to use the iron bars retrieved from the rubble into twisted steel works and turn them into useful bed frames, shoe racks, animal cages, and clothes hangers, among others, and sell them to tourists and souvenir collectors. Yes, these reused steel bars, after all, are souvenirs from the revered church that once stood there.
Here are some of the steel works they have made out of the iron bars from the rubble:
Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc. joins the Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel and other partners in rebuilding their new church. We appeal to your generosity and spirit of giving. You can help us by sending in your donations, in whatever amount you can share, through our secure site on Paypal. Please copy the following URL on your browser to access our Paypal page: http://bit.ly/1iqgknW
Clarín church is a Class C heritage church of the Tagbilaran diocese, meaning it was built during the American colonial period, although Clarin church was founded first as a visita in 1881. The parish was established in 1924 and the church structure that collapsed due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 15 Oct. 2013 was built in 1929 and remodelled in 1991.
Below are two photos that show how previous edifices looked like:
Below is the proposed design of the new church to be constructed:
The Parish of Santa Cruz in Maribojoc, Bohol celebrated the feast of its co-patron, San Vicente Ferrer on Monday, May 5, 2014 beside the ruins of their parish church, which was flattened to the ground by the strong earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013. Santa Cruz Parish was declared in 2005 as the Diocesan Shrine of San Vicente Ferrer.
Tagbilaran Bishop Most Reverend Leonardo Medroso, D.D. led the celebration, assisted by their parish Priest, Father Warren Abarquez, in the presence of other local clergy, government officials, parish volunteers, community members, and guests.
We have seen the extent of damage that the parish church and convent have sustained, and they are heart-rending. But the faith and hope of the local community were unfazed. They came in droves and packed their ‘temporary church’ erected beside the ruins, and their lively participation in the Pontifical Mass only proved that their church may have fallen, but not their spirit.
Bahay ng Diyos Foundation Inc. was there to witness this lively manifestation of faith amidst destruction, and with Bishop Medroso’s mandate, the Foundation will help the parish community of Maribojoc in building a more sturdy ‘alternate church’ to be designed by world-renwned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, hopefully to commence soon.
Here are photos taken last May 5, 2014 during their Patronal fiesta:
And here are photos of the ruins and the damage sustained by the parish convent: