MANILA, Oct. 31, 2013—A new cathedral rises in the diocese of Tandag.
With the recent destruction of heritage churches in Bohol due to 7.2 magnitude earthquake, Bishop Nereo Odchimar has raised concerns on the structural integrity of the cathedral of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Tandag.
He revealed that construction of a new cathedral is now a necessity “in as much as the present cathedral is already crumbling and is already a danger hazard for the people who are attending masses and other religious services.”
Odchimar, who is a former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) explained they opted to build a new cathedral because retrofitting a church is much more expensive than constructing a new one.
He said they have been warned by site inspectors as early as four years ago that the cathedral structure is already weakened and might not hold on in the event of a strong quake.
Site inspection revealed “cracks on the pillars and we are afraid that it might collapse if there is a strong quake or strong typhoon that will hit our province,” Odchimar added.
Construction will be finished by October next year depending on the funds that will be obtained from possible sponsors and benefactors.
Odchimar disclosed that they already tapped Catholic funding agencies particularly from Rome but was denied because the center of assistance has shifted from the Philippines to Africa and Middle East.
“Their funding is now more focused on human development rather than any structures. If there has been any help from Catholic funding agencies, it is very minimal,” the bishop furthered.
Sr. Celeste Parrilla, PDDM, who designed the new cathedral, explained the design is based on four aspects: geographical, cultural and historical, liturgical and theological, and pastoral aspect.
The new cathedral which will be built within the 1.3 hectare compound will have a 1,000 seating capacity.
An estimated P200 million pesos will have to be raised for the on-going construction of the new San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral.
To give way to the ongoing construction, Masses in the cathedral will be said only until November 3, afterwards all Masses will be celebrated in the covered court adjoining the Catholic College. (Jandel Posion)