JARO, Iloilo City, Feb. 2, 2016 – “We have been deprived of proper classrooms for more than a year now and we are more than thrilled to come back!”
Thus exclaimed Msgr. Alejandro P. Esperancilla, rector of St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary, expressing the collective sentiment of priest-formators, faculty members, and the seminarians at the inauguration of the seminary’s Jaime Cardinal Sin Building on Jan. 31.
The building was named after the seminary’s illustrious alumnus Jaime Cardinal Sin for his great contribution to the Church and to the country.
According to Esperancilla the inauguration of the building had been postponed twice already in the past.
For the Jan. 31 inauguration, the seminary community invited Msgr. Diego Monroy Ponce, chaplain of the National Shrine of St. Juan Diego in Mexico, to preside over the Solemn Enshrinement of the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the oratory of the building.
“Even now, when we were expecting the arrival in Iloilo of Msgr. Monroy Ponce, we received news that the aircraft bringing him from the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) could not land at the airport even after two attempts so it had to return to Cebu,” the priest sighed.
Mary’s effective intercession
The seminary rector accredited to Mary’s intercession the pushing through of the building’s inauguration that day in spite of all the obstacles.
“If not for the coming of the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe and if not for the Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles), we would have probably postponed this inauguration for the third time,” he exclaimed.
“The Candelaria needs the building in time for her fiesta on Feb. 2 and the Lady of Guadalupe has to be enshrined.”
“Consistent with her role in salvation history, Mary ends the long wait,” the priest pointed out.
The Patroness of the Cardinal Sin Building is Our Lady of Guadalupe in honor of La Morenita to whose intercession Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo attributed his recovery to after suffering a serious illness a few months ago.
A time of thanksgiving
The day of the inauguration was also an occasion for the seminary community to give thanks to the benefactors who helped fund the new building.
“I would like all the seminarians to approach the people who have helped us and say to them ‘thank you’ and show them that you really appreciate what they have done for us, what they have done for you,” the rector exhorted his students.
Some of the significant fund-raising campaigns the seminary did were the major production titled “Isko: Ang Pagsabat sa Panawagan”, the “Titles of Sin” project and the Christmas caroling.
Still a lot to be done
The Jaime Cardinal Sin Building , although still unfinished, will be put to immediate use as the venue for the baptism of children on the feast of Our Lady of Candelaria and for the use of the Junior and High School seminarians.
“The formal blessing of the building will be at the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the school year in June. There [is] still a lot to be done.”
According to Esperancilla about one million pesos is needed to finish the construction in time for the building’s formal blessing in June. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News with reports from Redan T. Tabat)