RESTORATION DONE: LO AND BEHOLD, IT'S THE MANILA CATHEDRAL

In the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila is one of the most admired churches in the country. It is officially named the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but locals call it casually “The Manila Cathedral.” The closure of the cathedral for restoration in February, 2012, did not stop tourists and pilgrims from visiting the imposing structure in Intramuros. Some stop and say silent prayers, others take “selfies” with the cathedral at the background. cathedral, Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila Bulletin, Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,
RESTORATION DONE – The air-conditioned Manila Cathedral, formally called the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in the heart of the old walled city of Intramuros is scheduled to reopen on April 9, more than two years after it was closed for major repairs. Church authorities said at least P120 million had been spent for the major repairs – a vision of delight for devotees who will troop to the retrofitted structure during the Holy Week. (KJ Rosales)
When the Manila Cathedral reopens its doors to the public on April 9, a few days before the Holy Week, expect the crowds to come and visit, most of them drawn by curiosity and Faith. Some P120 million was spent for the restoration of the cathedral, mostly for the retrofitting of the marble columns and beams, said Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, rector of the Manila Cathedral. Built in 1581, the Manila Cathedral has since been the victim of several wars, bombings, and fire. The present Cathedral was constructed in 1958 under then Rufino Cardinal Santos. Above the main entrance is the choir loft where the pipe organ is located. The pipe organ, which is said to be the biggest in Southeast Asia, will serenade the public during the re-opening of the cathedral on April 9. READ MORE...

ALSO: P’sinan town bags Guinness for longest BBQ

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan, Philippines – This town is the new holder of the Guinness world record for the longest barbeque after townsfolk simultaneously grilled 24,000 kilos of tilapia in eight-kilometer interconnected grill pads Friday afternoon. There were 8,000 grillers for the eight-kilometer Guinness bid, beating Turkey’s 6.116-kilometer long grill record. The provincial government donated 40,000 kilos of tilapia, while the local government donated 10,000 kilos. Mayor Ricardo Camacho told The STAR that participants cooked 24,000 kilos in the first round of grilling, which was officially entered for the Guinness bid. Another 24,000 kilos were grilled in the second round, while the 2,000 kilos left were consumed during the street party after the competition. Participants, visitors and revelers from 77 barangays were estimated at more than 500,000, Camacho said. Camacho also said that he, like most residents, was “shocked, stunned and speechless” by the title given by Guinness adjudicator Seyda Subasi-Gemici, who personally came to the town to oversee the actual grilling. Gemici was accompanied by a geodetic engineer who surveyed the measurement of the interconnected grill pads. “We will never forget this and we will maintain the grilling every year although with shorter length only,” Camacho said.

ALSO: A gem of ages: 7 island rock formations in Northern Samar

BIRI, Northern Samar—From afar, the rocks resemble walls protecting this island-municipality from the ferocious waves of the Pacific Ocean and the San Bernardino Strait.
But up close, the unique Biri Island Rock Formation, composed of seven gigantic limestone rocks, reveals itself as an amazing natural wonder with perfectly carved forms that remind one of a towering tiger and honeycombs, among other shapes. The rock formation has been described as a result of the “battle of the gods” since whipping winds, the movement from tectonic plates, fierce storms, the heat wave and huge waves crashing against the rocks created its magnificent beauty. Adding to its natural attraction are the surrounding white-sand beach, a lush mangrove forest with dwarf mangroves and crystal-clear waters through which one can see live corals and a healthy sea-grass bed. No. 5 Philippine gem-- The Biri Island Rock Formation ranked fifth last year in the online Search for the Top 10 Philippine Gems by Isla Lipana & Co., with 15 million online votes from travel bloggers. The only tourist destination in Eastern Visayas to make it to the list, Biri is located on the northwest tip of Northern Samar and has become home to many retirees, including foreigners like Canadian John Ryan. Ryan and Filipino wife Glenda have set up a bed and breakfast business in response to the influx of tourists here. The Canadian recalled how his wife first took him to her hometown about five years ago.

ALSO: Nancy Binay alarmed by surging cases of prostitution in Zambo evacuation centers

Opposition Sen. Nancy Binay (photo) yesterday renewed her call to authorities to inquire into the actual condition of evacuees in Zamboanga City who have been displaced by the armed conflict last year, in the light of what she claimed as alarming cases of prostitution inside the temporary shelter facilities. Citing reports from the field, the senator was told that prostitution is said to be rife inside the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex as well as in tent brothels along Cawa-Cawa Boulevard. “Umaapela po akong muli sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) to ensure the basic needs of those displaced by the conflict and to strengthen their operations in the area. Sinabi po sa isang news report na kaya napapasok sa prostitusyon ang mga babaeng evacuees ay dahil sa kawalan ng oportunidad at hanapbuhay,” Binay said. “Kailangan po ang agarang aksyon ng kinauukulan dito – sadya pong nakakabahala ang report na ito,” she added. Shallom Allian, program manager of the non-governmental organization Nisa Ul Haqq Bangsamoro, was quoted in a news report as saying that women were forced to engage in prostitution for as low as P25 to as high as P300 in order to survive. The chairman of the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development, had earlier filed a resolution calling for a probe on the reported deaths inside evacuation centers in Zamboanga City. This was after it was reported that some 100 evacuees had died since September 2013 from diseases in the overcrowded temporary shelters. Binay appealed anew to the DSWD and other concerned agencies to take a second look into the dismal conditions of those in the strife-torn Zamboanga City, particularly those who to this day are still living in temporary shelters. Many have been forced to live in evacuation centers in September last year, when members of the Moro National Liberation Front attacked several villages in Zamboanga City.

ALSO: Writing to John Paul II: ‘Like talking to God’ in shopping mall

Kneeling in a pew flanked by relics and memorabilia of the late Pope John Paul II, a young mother scribbled a prayer on a small envelope, pleading that her child grow up to be smart and be accepted by its estranged father. Christina Bisana, 28, had been praying for this for years and when she saw the relics of the soon-to-be-canonized Pontiff displayed in the middle of a bustling shopping mall in Quezon City on Thursday, she felt a fresh surge of hope that her prayers would finally be heard. “That’s our Pope. It’s like talking to God himself,” Bisana, a single mother, told the Inquirer. She was just passing by Gateway Mall at Araneta Center on her way to Makati City on an errand when she saw the exhibit, part of the two-month “Totus Tuus” tour of the relics in the Philippines. The 50-piece exhibit included Pope John Paul II’s blood stain and hair strands, his skullcap, a cassock, a purificator, a piece of a chasuble that he used, a rosary and a strip of the sheet from his deathbed.
Some of the relics came from Rome and some from Poland. The others were borrowed from the personal collections of nuns, priests and lay people who met the Polish-born Pope during his two visits to the Philippines. READ MORE...


Read Full Stories here:

Lo and behold, It’s the Manila Cathedral!


RESTORATION DONE – The air-conditioned Manila Cathedral, formally called the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in the heart of the old walled city of Intramuros is scheduled to reopen on April 9, more than two years after it was closed for major repairs. Church authorities said at least P120 million had been spent for the major repairs – a vision of delight for devotees who will troop to the retrofitted structure during the Holy Week. (KJ Rosales)

MANILA, APRIL 7, 2014
(MANILA BULLETIN)
by Leslie Ann Aquino — In the Walled City of Intramuros in Manila is one of the most admired churches in the country. It is officially named the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but locals call it casually “The Manila Cathedral.”

The closure of the cathedral for restoration in February, 2012, did not stop tourists and pilgrims from visiting the imposing structure in Intramuros. Some stop and say silent prayers, others take “selfies” with the cathedral at the background.

When the Manila Cathedral reopens its doors to the public on April 9, a few days before the Holy Week, expect the crowds to come and visit, most of them drawn by curiosity and Faith.

Some P120 million was spent for the restoration of the cathedral, mostly for the retrofitting of the marble columns and beams, said Msgr. Nestor Cerbo, rector of the Manila Cathedral.

Built in 1581, the Manila Cathedral has since been the victim of several wars, bombings, and fire. The present Cathedral was constructed in 1958 under then Rufino Cardinal Santos.

Above the main entrance is the choir loft where the pipe organ is located. The pipe organ, which is said to be the biggest in Southeast Asia, will serenade the public during the re-opening of the cathedral on April 9.

Once inside, one will be left in awe with the sight of the elegant arches and beams which are Byzantine inspired. The architecture of the Cathedral is both Romanesque-and Byzantine-inspired. Some of these were retrofitted during the restoration to ensure its structural integrity.

The carrara marble (colored cream and white) from Italy and all the statues in the cathedral were all cleaned and polished for the reopening.

Stained Glass Windows

But the beauty of the cathedral perhaps can best be appreciated by looking at the stained glass windows adorning the sides of the church, where the chapels are located as well as the baptistry.

Msgr. Cerbo even likened looking at the stained glass windows of Filipino artist Galo Ocampo to a pilgrimage where a person can create a story out of their own experience.

This, he said, is because the stained glass windows show different Catholic teachings and religion, and about Mary.

Cardinal’s Hat

Upon reaching the front aisle, one will notice a red hat hanging from the central dome of the basilica. The galero hat belongs to the late Jaime Cardinal Sin. The hat of a Cardinal is traditionally hung at his cathedral after his death.

Sin’s remains was interred at the crypt located below the cathedral’s altar where other archbishops of Manila were also buried.

The funeral of Sin was held at the cathedral in 2005. Four years later the wake and requiem Mass for former president Corazon Aquino was also held there breaking protocol. She was permitted to lie in state at the cathedral due to her love for the church.

Other significant events that took place at the cathedral include the Mass of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II, who elevated the Manila Cathedral to the dignity of a Minor Basilica motu propio (on his own initiative) on April 27, 1981.

Bronze Image

But the most important possession of the cathedral is probably the gilded bronze image of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception at the marble altar, whose canopy or baldachino was repaired after engineers found cracks in it.

Marian devotees flock to the cathedral to venerate the image especially on December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Looking at the devotees who regularly come to the church to intently pray to the Blessed Mother, makes one realize that the real treasure of the Manila Cathedral is really the faith of the people.

FROM PHILSTAR

P’sinan town bags Guinness for longest BBQ By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 6, 2014 - 12:00am 6 229 googleplus0 4


Residents of Bayambang, Pangasinan grill tilapia in eight-kilometer interconnected grill pads Friday afternoon, beating Turkey’s Guinness record for the longest barbeque. CESAR RAMIREZ

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan, Philippines – This town is the new holder of the Guinness world record for the longest barbeque after townsfolk simultaneously grilled 24,000 kilos of tilapia in eight-kilometer interconnected grill pads Friday afternoon.

There were 8,000 grillers for the eight-kilometer Guinness bid, beating Turkey’s 6.116-kilometer long grill record.

The provincial government donated 40,000 kilos of tilapia, while the local government donated 10,000 kilos.

Mayor Ricardo Camacho told The STAR that participants cooked 24,000 kilos in the first round of grilling, which was officially entered for the Guinness bid.

Another 24,000 kilos were grilled in the second round, while the 2,000 kilos left were consumed during the street party after the competition.

Participants, visitors and revelers from 77 barangays were estimated at more than 500,000, Camacho said.

Camacho also said that he, like most residents, was “shocked, stunned and speechless” by the title given by Guinness adjudicator Seyda Subasi-Gemici, who personally came to the town to oversee the actual grilling. Gemici was accompanied by a geodetic engineer who surveyed the measurement of the interconnected grill pads.

“We will never forget this and we will maintain the grilling every year although with shorter length only,” Camacho said.

Gov. Amado Espino Jr., Vice Gov. Jose Ferdinand Calimlim Jr., businessman Cesar Quiambao, Camacho and other local officials led the lighting ceremonies. Bangladesh Ambassador John Gomes and former Pangasinan fifth district congressman Mark Cojuangco also joined the revelers.

On Feb. 11, 2008, the Sto. Tomas town of Pangasinan also got the Guinness record for the longest grill (3,803.96 meters) during its corn festival. Residents grilled 93,540 ears of glutinous corn on a 1,559-meter long grill traversing 10 barangays. It beat the previous record of 1,493.2 meters of grilled red meat of Monteviedo, Uruguay.

On May 3, 2003, Dagupan City, also in Pangasinan, got its Guinness record for the longest barbeque, with 1,007.56 meters of grilled bangus (milkfish) as part of the city’s Bangus Festival.

FROM THE INQUIRER

A gem of ages: 7 island rock formations in Northern Samar By Vicky C. Arnaiz Inquirer Visayas 12:51 am | Sunday, April 6th, 2014


ROCK STAR Carved to perfection for thousands of years by crashing waves, whipping winds, fierce storms and tectonic movements, orchestrated no doubt by the Hand of God, rock formations of Biri Island in Northern Samar dwarf the visitors who can only stare at its stunning beauty. VICKY ARNAIZ/INQUIRER VISAYAS

BIRI, Northern Samar—From afar, the rocks resemble walls protecting this island-municipality from the ferocious waves of the Pacific Ocean and the San Bernardino Strait.

But up close, the unique Biri Island Rock Formation, composed of seven gigantic limestone rocks, reveals itself as an amazing natural wonder with perfectly carved forms that remind one of a towering tiger and honeycombs, among other shapes.

The rock formation has been described as a result of the “battle of the gods” since whipping winds, the movement from tectonic plates, fierce storms, the heat wave and huge waves crashing against the rocks created its magnificent beauty.

Adding to its natural attraction are the surrounding white-sand beach, a lush mangrove forest with dwarf mangroves and crystal-clear waters through which one can see live corals and a healthy sea-grass bed.

No. 5 Philippine gem

The Biri Island Rock Formation ranked fifth last year in the online Search for the Top 10 Philippine Gems by Isla Lipana & Co., with 15 million online votes from travel bloggers.

The only tourist destination in Eastern Visayas to make it to the list, Biri is located on the northwest tip of Northern Samar and has become home to many retirees, including foreigners like Canadian John Ryan.

Ryan and Filipino wife Glenda have set up a bed and breakfast business in response to the influx of tourists here.
The Canadian recalled how his wife first took him to her hometown about five years ago.

Love at first sight

“It was love at first sight,” Ryan said of his initial encounter with Biri. “I decided to settle here after working as consultant for a top accounting firm,” he added.

“A laid-back lifestyle, wonderful people, and an island with awesome rock formations, blue seas and a rich marine life. How can you not love that? This is paradise,” Ryan said of his adopted land.

Traveler’s guide

Biri is an hour’s boat ride over rough waves from the fish port in Lavezares town in Northern Samar.

In fact, Biri Mayor Antonio B. de los Reyes Jr. said he sculpted an image of the Nuestra Señora de Salvacion in 2005 to guide travelers across the choppy waves.

The all-white life-size sculpture has “a powerful solar light on its forehead to guide night travelers,” the mayor said.

Installed 3 kilometers from the shoreline, the image is shown reaching out and saving a seaman from a sunken ship.
On this particular boat ride, everyone onboard grew quiet: They could either be praying or holding their breath.

But the anxiety quickly disappeared as soon as tourists set sight on clear blue waters, the white-sand beach and the awesome rock formations.

Low tide

As passengers step on the beach, they are greeted by habal-habal drivers offering their motorcycles for hire at P40 for three passengers. For additional tourist guide services, be prepared to pay at least P300.

Locals advise visitors to check out the rock formations during low tide to avoid stepping on the corals, and on early mornings to have more time to explore the seven rock formations identified as Magasang, Magsapad, Macadlaw, Puhunan, Bel-at, Caranas and Pinanahawan.

Tourists wishing to view them can use the two entrances in Barangay Progress after paying P50 which is used to maintain the area and pay the watchmen.

Through one entrance, one can get a full view of the Magasang formations and Magsapad, which is believed to be the resting place of a goddess. Visitors are thus cautioned against making noises lest they incur her ire and provoke her into unleashing strong winds and gigantic waves.

Local legends

Local legends also tell of a lovely woman named Berbinota who once ruled the place, a story probably inspired by the close resemblance of Magsapad’s left side to the silhouette of a beautiful woman with long flowing hair. It is from this legendary woman that the town got its name, the old folk say.

The other entrance is about 8 km away on an elevated area, from where one can view all seven rock formations.

To get there, tourists can either ride a motorcyle, walk or jog, a popular option among the more active set. To get to the summit, visitors have to cross a wooden bridge painted green to match the mangrove forests and coconut trees that abound in the area.

Midway, one can see the Macadlaw and Puhunan rock formations in the distance, both of them covered with lush vegetation.

As tourists descend the stairs after crossing the kilometer-long walkway, they are greeted with smaller rock formations resembling waves frozen in time.

Natural pool

Farther down is the Bel-at natural pool where guests can take a dip. After another 10 minutes’ walk, the breathtaking beauty of Bel-at and Caranas is revealed, with brown-orange boulders huge as a cathedral, their smooth edges and rugged lines seamlessly twined.

But there’s more to Biri than just its magnificent rock formations. Tourists can also go bird watching, camping, rock climbing and boating, as well as snorkeling, scuba diving or swimming in the clear waters. The best surfing, however, is at the white beach in nearby MacArthur village.

FAST FACTS
Biri is a fifth class municipality, with a yearly income of P15 million to P25 million.
Population: More than 10,000
Main livelihood: Fishing and copra-making
Best time to go: April to June, when waters are calmer
How to get there:
Travel six hours by land from Tacloban City to Allen, Northern Samar, then from Allen to Lavezares (20 minutes via jeepney). From Lavezares, take a pumpboat to Biri (one hour)
Van for hire at Tacloban City Bus Terminal – P350.00/pax
Van for hire (chartered for 16 persons) – P12,000
Jeepney ride from Allen to Lavezares – P20
Pump boat from Lavezares to Biri – P50
Small motorized boat for hire – P800 to P1,000

If coming from Manila, take a 15-hour bus ride to Matnog, Sorsogon, then a ferry to Allen town, then Lavezares.
Or take a plane to Catarman, Northern Samar, which is just 20 minutes away to Lavezares.

From the Bicol region, take a three-hour boat ride from Sorsogon to Biri.

For tourists from Cebu City, take a passenger vessel to Calbayog City, Samar, which is about three hours away by land to Lavezares.

Travel tips
Use appropriate footwear like aqua shoes and nonskid shoes
Bring an extra bottle of water
Wear a rash guard and apply sunblock
Bring a camera with extra battery
Use a headlamp
Leave heavy stuff
Ziploc your camera and cell phones

FROM THE TRIBUNE

Nancy alarmed by surging cases of prostitution in Zambo evacuation centers Written by Angie M. Rosales Monday, 07 April 2014 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Be the first to comment!

Opposition Sen. Nancy Binay (photo) yesterday renewed her call to authorities to inquire into the actual condition of evacuees in Zamboanga City who have been displaced by the armed conflict last year, in the light of what she claimed as alarming cases of prostitution inside the temporary shelter facilities.

Citing reports from the field, the senator was told that prostitution is said to be rife inside the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex as well as in tent brothels along Cawa-Cawa Boulevard.

“Umaapela po akong muli sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) to ensure the basic needs of those displaced by the conflict and to strengthen their operations in the area. Sinabi po sa isang news report na kaya napapasok sa prostitusyon ang mga babaeng evacuees ay dahil sa kawalan ng oportunidad at hanapbuhay,” Binay said.

“Kailangan po ang agarang aksyon ng kinauukulan dito – sadya pong nakakabahala ang report na ito,” she added.

Shallom Allian, program manager of the non-governmental organization Nisa Ul Haqq Bangsamoro, was quoted in a news report as saying that women were forced to engage in prostitution for as low as P25 to as high as P300 in order to survive.

The chairman of the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development, had earlier filed a resolution calling for a probe on the reported deaths inside evacuation centers in Zamboanga City.

This was after it was reported that some 100 evacuees had died since September 2013 from diseases in the overcrowded temporary shelters.

Binay appealed anew to the DSWD and other concerned agencies to take a second look into the dismal conditions of those in the strife-torn Zamboanga City, particularly those who to this day are still living in temporary shelters.

Many have been forced to live in evacuation centers in September last year, when members of the Moro National Liberation Front attacked several villages in Zamboanga City.

Seven months after the siege, no transition sites have been prepared for the evacuees nor are there decent jobs available for them.

“Alam ko po na unti-unti ang pagtulong sa ating mga kapatid sa Zamboanga City upang sila ay makabangon muli, ngunit ang issue ng prostitusyon ay nakakabahala,” stressed the senator whose proposed measures are geared toward improving the lives of women, children and the elderly.

“Ang evacuation centers po ay temporary lamang na tirahan para sa ating mga kababayan. Sana po sila ay mabigyan ng maayos at disenteng malilipatan at mapagkukunan ng ikabubuhay sa mas madaling panahon,” she said.

FROM THE INQUIRER

Writing to John Paul II: ‘Like talking to God’ in shopping mall
By Jocelyn R. Uy Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:03 am | Sunday, April 6th, 2014


Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz as he arrives in the Paul VI hall to hear a “Message from the College of Cardinals to the Holy Father” at the Vatican. AP FILE PHOTO

QUEZON CITY -Kneeling in a pew flanked by relics and memorabilia of the late Pope John Paul II, a young mother scribbled a prayer on a small envelope, pleading that her child grow up to be smart and be accepted by its estranged father.

Christina Bisana, 28, had been praying for this for years and when she saw the relics of the soon-to-be-canonized Pontiff displayed in the middle of a bustling shopping mall in Quezon City on Thursday, she felt a fresh surge of hope that her prayers would finally be heard.

“That’s our Pope. It’s like talking to God himself,” Bisana, a single mother, told the Inquirer.

She was just passing by Gateway Mall at Araneta Center on her way to Makati City on an errand when she saw the exhibit, part of the two-month “Totus Tuus” tour of the relics in the Philippines.

The 50-piece exhibit included Pope John Paul II’s blood stain and hair strands, his skullcap, a cassock, a purificator, a piece of a chasuble that he used, a rosary and a strip of the sheet from his deathbed.

Some of the relics came from Rome and some from Poland. The others were borrowed from the personal collections of nuns, priests and lay people who met the Polish-born Pope during his two visits to the Philippines.

Papal visits here

Born Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II reigned from 1978 to 2005. He first visited the Philippines in February 1985 during which time he beatified the first Filipino Church martyr, Lorenzo Ruiz, along with 15 other Christian martyrs.

John Paul stayed six days in the country, visiting and celebrating Masses in Manila and the cities of Baguio, Cebu and Davao.

He visited the Philippines a second time in January 1995 for the World Youth Day in Manila. More than 4 million Filipino Catholics attended the closing Mass of the celebration at Rizal Park, making it one of the largest-crowd papal events in history.

According to the organizers, all of the relics and other items in the exhibit have been authenticated and recognized by Church pastors, especially by the Archbishop of Krakow, Stanislaw Dziwisz, the former secretary and trusted aide of John Paul.
Bisana said being there to write down her prayer was like talking personally about it to John Paul, who will be canonized at the Vatican on April 27.

Books of prayers

She did not know that the prayer intention that she had put in the wooden drop box, along with thousands more from others who had gone to the exhibit, would get closer to the late Pope.

The letters pleading for miracles and seeking physical and spiritual redemption will be recorded in a book and placed in John Paul’s tomb in Rome after the tour, which will end on June 1, according to tour chair Dave de la Cruz.

Another book will be placed at the tomb of Blessed Ivan Merz in Croatia. Merz was beatified by John Paul II on a visit to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2003, said De la Cruz, also the vice postulator of the Cause for the Canonization of Blessed Ivan Merz in the Philippines.

The Totus Tuus tour will have 11 stopovers, including churches, schools and shopping malls in Metro Manila and Davao, Batangas and Capiz provinces.

In the Gateway exhibit, at least 12 of John Paul’s relics are on display for public veneration until April 24. After that, the relics will be transferred to a parish named after him in Eastwood, Quezon City.

Pope’s admirers

On the first day of the exhibit on Thursday, the relics captivated hundreds of John Paul’s Filipino admirers, including the likes of Bisana who had no idea that the shopping mall had a special visitor.

Shoppers and passersby took out their mobile phones and digital cameras to snap photos of the relics. Some took time to examine the relics, most of which were placed in glass boxes. Children who were not even born yet at the time of John Paul’s death in 2005 curiously eyed the relics, as if wondering what the fuss was all about.

Others slid into the pews to pray and many wrote down prayer intentions and placed them in envelopes with money as donations.

“I offered a prayer for the healing of my sick father and for the fast processing of a job waiting for me abroad,” said Harry Farre, 34, who was on his way to work at a restaurant in Makati City.

Farre said his father was struggling with a lung disease and he was applying for a job as a cook in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
He said he hoped his prayers would be answered through the intercession of Pope John Paul II.

Marvie Magsumbong, 39, said she prayed for good health for all the members of her family. “I also prayed for world peace,” she added.

Larne Gayatgay, a teacher, came to the exhibit with six of her nephews and nieces. “We came here to see the display,” said Gayatgay, who had learned about the exhibit on Church-run Radio Veritas.

She said she brought along her nephews and nieces, aged 9 to 15, for them to get acquainted with John Paul, who died when they were still too small to remember.

Gayatgay, who was involved in the World Youth Day preparations nearly two decades ago, whispered a prayer to the Pope before leaving the exhibit, asking that God keep her siblings safe and give them good health.

Engaged in faith

The first three days of the tour, which began at the Radio Veritas chapel in Quezon City, drew more than 3,000 prayer intentions from people seeking deliverance from sickness and financial and other problems. More will come in the next two months, De la Cruz said.

“People are really engaged in their faith, trusting in God’s providence and love, which becomes stronger and more relevant through the intercession of Pope John Paul II,” he said.

De la Cruz said the drop box brimming with prayer intentions was an indication that many felt there was a friend or a father listening in heaven and relaying their pleas to God.

“This is one reason why he will be canonized very fast because many people experience his presence,” he said.
John Paul II’s canonization will take place less than three years after he was beatified on May 1, 2011.

Love for newest saint

De la Cruz said his office decided to open the exposition and veneration of the Pope’s relics to the public to deepen the Filipinos’ love and devotion to the newest saint.

The exhibit had been originally planned as a private occasion for thanksgiving for the beatification of Ivan Merz, he said.

“We want to thank God for the gift of a new saint and we hope that through this tour, the people will have a deeper relationship with God, inspired by the life and works of Pope John Paul II,” he said. Inquirer Archives


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE