According to Archbishop Socrates Villegas, highlight affair will be the anniversary thanksgiving Mass to be held at 9 a.m. at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.
Main celebrant will be Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.
Alcala church in Cagayan
On Nov. 1, 2009, I published in this column the plight of the faithful of St. Philomene Parish in Alcala, Cagayan, who were begging for assistance for the urgent restoration of their old colonial church.
The church, which is along Maharlika Highway, was in a decrepit state. The brick walls shook whenever big trucks passed, it did not have a decent altar, the church was dimly lit and the heat inside the church was unbearable due to the absence of a ceiling.
After my column came out, help poured in from generous people like Michael and Sheila Romero, Beth Isaac, Celing Catral, Carole Kuhn, and many nameless benefactors here and abroad.
Some significant restoration and improvement projects have been completed like the installation of the beautiful altar retablo, the electrical layouting and lighting of the entire church, grinding of the marble tiles, restoration of the old pews, the installation of stone images on the façade of the church, the landscaping of the front lawn, and the construction of the perimeter wall around the church to hold the walls and to lessen the vibration that weakens the walls.
The Parish of St. Philomene was established by the Dominican friars in 1843 to accommodate the influx of migrants from the Ilocos region.
Fray Casimiro Gonzales, OP, initiated the construction of the widest church in the region, but the church stood unfinished when the friars were imprisoned by the Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution.
The parish church is proud that it has produced a beatified martyr. Fray Maximino Fernandez Mariñas, OP, served the Alcala parish in 1893 to 1896 after finishing his philosophy and theology at the University of Sto. Tomas.
Back in Spain, Fray Maximino suffered the terrible atrocities of the anti-Christian persecutions of the liberals, secularists, socialists, anarchists and communists in the 1930s.
The persecutions under the liberal republican government led to the Spanish civil war.
In 1936, he was killed. In 2007, along with other alumni friars from UST led by Fray Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, OP, a former master general of the Dominican Order, as well as nearly 500 other martyrs, diocesan, religious and lay, Fray Maximino was beatified on St. Peter’s Square in the biggest beatification in history.
The beatified UST alumni are now known as the “Thomasian martyrs of the religious persecution during the Spanish civil war.”
Need for a ceiling
The Parish of St. Philomene is composed mostly of farmers. According to their parish priest, Fr. Pio Rino L. Guaring, the church needs a ceiling because the heat inside the church is unbearable, especially during summer. This is their priority project now since the people have been longing for it. They are asking for your kind assistance.
For donations, you may remit to St. Philomene Parish, 008543-0221-61, BPI Tuguegarao, College Avenue Branch.
Candelaria, Silang fiesta
The parish church of Our Lady of Candelaria in Silang, Cavite, was filled wih devotees and pilgrims on Feb. 3 during the fiesta Mass officiated by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle with 20 priests concelebrating.
The cardinal, who is formerly bishop of Cavite, encouraged the flock to turn to Mary because “she is going to lead us to Jesus, the Light of the World.” My friend Meng Canlas, producer and director of “The Seven Last Words” on Channel 13, listened and waited to be able to touch the image when she was brought out in a carroza for the procession.
Sanctuaries of Europe
It is not only in the Philippines that the Blessed Virgin Mary is venerated and loved. In the forthcoming “Journey of Faith” led by Fr. Archie Cortez, prior of the Servants of the Risen Christ and custodian of the Relic of the True Cross, pilgrims will visit the “sanctuaries of Europe” that include Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Rue du Bac in Paris; Our Lady of Lourdes in Massabielle, France; St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Lisieux, where the Eucharist turned into live blood; the Shrine of St. Padre Pio, including his home in Pietrelcina and Monte Cassino.
Departure is on April 10. Back to Manila on April 26. For details, call Sally Maddatu at 0906-2395166 or 8920441 and ask for Chuchay.
Fr. Jun Sescon to Holy Land
Adam’s Travel, which pioneered the pilgrimage to the Holy Land that has inspired thousands of Filipino pilgrims to deepen their faith, has asked Fr. Jun Sescon to be pilgrimage chaplain. He will bring travelers to Cairo on April 1.
Upon arrival, pilgrims will visit the Old Cairo where one can find the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary or the “Hanging Church” built in the 4th century BC. There were apparitions of the Virgin Mary here.
The pilgrims will be back in Manila on April 10.
Call Adam’s Travel at 5211651/98 or Anna Ayo at 0908-5919908.
St. Pedro Calungsod play
The Dominica School Manila will celebrate its 55th anniversary by presenting a play on the life and martyrdom of St. Pedro Calungsod on Feb. 15.
Written and directed by Francis Villacorta, “Pedro Calungsod: Ang Batang Santo,” has been successfully presented in other campuses in San Fernando, Pampanga, and Baguio.
For inquiries, call 5248454 or 0917-4682045.
Blessings to Jade Vine
Blessings to Jade Vine Restaurant and Executive Inn Inc. for involving children in the “Wishing Christmas Tree” contest where they write down their deepest wish.
Forty-six children joined the contest from Nov. 19 to Dec. 20, 2012.
Chair of the contest was Dr. Flora Go of De La Salle University. First prize went to Sebastian Rhobyn Asis, 7, of Tondo, while the second prize was earned by Aldrin V. Cruz, 10, of Novaliches; and the third prize was given to John Michael Pabusta, 9, also of Tondo.
The contest is Bert Torrijos’ own exciting project.