TAGBILARAN City, Nov. 11, 2013— still suffering from the effects of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake nearly a month ago, the Church in Bohol demonstrates resiliency and creativity by turning makeshift tents into centers for the sacraments.
“It’s just makeshift, we have our masses in tents,” Fr. Aurelio Luzon, parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer parish in Calape, said in an interview, describing the adaption the local churches have made to deal with completely damaged churches or parishes that are no longer structurally sound.
Open air confessions
Face to face confessions, which are offered every Wednesday, are also heard on benches in the parking lot.
For the rest of the 38 chapels under the parish, spread throughout 25 barangays, regular monthly masses will only resume in January 2014 because of impassable roads.
“My instruction to them is that even if they don’t have a chapel, we’ll celebrate mass under the shade of a tree or beside the chapel where it’s shady,” said Fr. Luzon, who is assisted by his parochial vicar, Fr. Dennis Leornas.
Weddings that have been postponed because of the earthquake are pushing through and will be held in tents as well.
According to Fr. Luzon, a bride and groom-to-be recently decided to get married in their hometown of Calape, as planned because even the St. Joseph Cathedral in Tagbilaran City can only offer tents for the administration of the sacraments.
Relief and spiritual center
Presently, the outer half of the Cathedral is only open to the faithful during Sunday masses to accommodate the throngs that continue to flock to the church.
During the rest of the week, the Cathedral is part spiritual refuge with masses also held in tents outside and part relief center with boxes of food and water lining the walls.
The destruction of Spanish-era heritage churches like the nearly 500-year old Our Lady of Assumption Church, also known as Dauis church remains painful even if the surrounding neighborhoods were unaffected by the earthquake.
According to Fr. Joselito Clemen, parish priest of Dauis church and Tagbilaran diocesan youth director, the sacramental life of his parishioners goes on by celebrating holy mass in tents near the church.
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated Bohol last October 15. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]