ZENY Marquez-Zicherelli drove us to the Parish of Sta. Rosa de Lima in Gamu, Isabela, and we found the church to be impressive, with very high ceiling, its walls made of brick. But parts of the roof were blown away during typhoon “Juan.” Although parts were rehabilitated during the time of Fr. Antonio Ancheta, former parish priest, the roof was torn again during typhoon “Pedring” when the acacia tree near the church fell on it.
The present parish priest, Fr. Vener Ceperez, informed us the ceiling of the convent also needs total change. Even the gold paint of the altar restored by Aurora Lazo was washed away due to the typhoon.
An earnest priest who is the social communications director of the Diocese of Ilagan, Father Vener does his evangelization not only through homilies; he also teaches at Our Lady of the Visitation Seminary in Cauayan, Isabela. He is taking masteral studies at Loyola School of Theology.
Devotion to Sta. Rosa de Lima
I visited the parish church of Sta. Rosa de Lima in Gamu for the first time in 1993 with the late Msgr. Johnny Corpuz. The Dominican saint’s life-size image stands on the left side of the altar.
One of my favorite saints whose feast falls on Aug. 23, Rosa de Lima was known to have made herself ugly by rubbing something awful on her face, so she would not attract suitors. A native of Peru who lived in the same century as St. Martin de Porres, another Dominican saint, Sta. Rosa is known for her miraculous intercessions.
She must have wanted us to visit her and talk to her priest because Father Vener was there despite the ongoing Priests Assembly in Cauayan that day. He decided to go afterward.
Dear readers, please find it in your hearts to help Father Vener repair his church. Donations can be deposited in either of these two accounts: Parish of St. Rose of Lima at DBP Ilagan with Savings Account No. 0540-287-721-030 or at Chinabank (Isabela-Ilagan branch). Make deposits in the name of Fr. Vener Ceperez and Joaquin Accad Jr. with checking account No. 472-000311-8. Thank you and may Sta. Rosa de Lima intercede for your needs.
Rich church history
Sta. Rosa de Gamu-t was founded as a mission, most probably on the same place where “San Gabriel de Batauag” was established before. Nuestra Señora de las Victorias de Itugud (now Lenzon, a barrio of Gamu) became a separate mission and got as parish priest Fr. Domingo Muta, who took over Father Jimenez who had already worked there for seven years. Father Muta was not able to repair the damages to the church as he was transferred to Ilagan in 1704. Because Itugud was so small it was annexed to Gamu-t.
Santa Rosa de Gamu-t and Our Lady of Victories of Itugud were fused on Dec. 5, 1741, under the petition of both towns because they could not pay the due taxes as independent towns. They did not, however, agree to fuse in the same place, because Batauag did not want to go to Itugud and Itugud refused to go to Batauag. So they settled in the place of the actual town of Gamu. The church was constructed as a masterpiece of Fr. Martin Fernandez who also made the planning of the town. This was done around the year 1750.
Under the Dominicans
All the first missionaries who took charge of the parish were Dominicans belonging to the province of the Holy Rosary in Spain. Up to 1922, the Dominican Fathers took care of Gamu. During the American regime, when the separation between Church and State was implemented, the Filipino secular priest was Fr. Felix Domingo. The diocesan priests stayed here until 1962.
But in December 1949, the church convent was devastated during an earthquake. A wooden church was put up in 1950-51 next to the ruins of the Spanish church.
The La Salette Missionaries took over Gamu in 1962 until 1977. The first La Salette missionary, Fr. Maurice Cardinal, upon request of the parishioners, started the restoration of the Spanish church, and in 1968 a new roof was put up. In May 1967, a diocesan priest, Fr. Domingo Matterig, became the parish priest, but he died after only a 10-month stay in the parish.
In March 1978, the CICM missionaries were asked by Bishop Msgr. Miguel Purugganan to take over. Father John Couvreur became the first CICM priest in Gamu, and the 75th parish priest of the parish.
Church area for rent
Father Vener told us there is a plan to rent out the empty surrounding hectare around the church property as a dairy farm for upkeep of the parish. As it is, the stipends received during the Masses sum up to only P3,000 on Sundays. For inquiries, text Father Vener at 0905-2239977.
Happy fiesta, St. Matthias Parish
The people of Tamauini, Isabela, will celebrate their fiesta on Sunday, feast day of their patron St. Matthias. Bishop Joseph Nacua, OFM-Cap, will officiate the concelebrated Mass at 8:30 a.m. Parish priest is Fr. Angel Luga.
Day of Prayer
The Confraternity of the Lady of All Nations will hold “A Day of Prayer” in honor of Our Lady of All Nations May 24, 4 p.m.-8 p.m., at Holy Family Chapel in Virra Mall, Greenhills Center. Organized with Center for Peace Asia and Bahay Maria, the program includes the recitation of the Holy Rosary at 4 p.m. before the Blessed Sacrament; Marian talk follows at 5:45 p.m. and the entrance of colors at 6:30 p.m. followed by Holy Mass.
The Serviam Catholic Charismatic Community will hold “Life in the Spirit Experience No. 12” on May 19-20 at Daughters of St. Paul Convent, FB Harrison St., Pasay City. To inquire, text Cecil Tomas at 0920-9080859.
Mass of Remembrance
The Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls will hold a Mass of Remembrance May 14, 11 a.m., at Shrine of Jesus the Divine Word, Christ the King Seminary on E. Rodriguez Ave., QC.
We remember and pray for those who died during the Napoleonic Wars, the execution of Andres Bonifacio, death anniversary of Apolinario Mabini (May 13, 1803) and for those who died during World War II.
Blessings of good health to Rev. Fr. Gene Rafal who celebrated his 38th anniversary as a priest on May 7 with a beautiful Mass celebrated at San Lorenzo Ruiz Pastoral Center in Summerwind Village 4, Burol, Dasmariñas City, Cavite. (Belated happy birthday to my readers Reycel and Rhoda Arciaga.)
Our Lady of Antipolo will visit the Chapel of Radio Veritas, May 14-18. Mass will be celebrated at 12 noon. The public is invited. Radio Veritas is at Paramount Building on the corner of West Avenue and Edsa.
Ermita marks the fiesta of Nuestra Señora de Guia on May 19. Archbishop Chito Tagle will officiate a concelebrated Mass at 6 p.m. with at least 40 priests in Ermita Church.