‘Yolanda’-damaged church to become St. Anthony shrine

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Hundreds of believers of San Antonio de Padua flocked the parish church in Tabon-Tabon for the concelebrated Mass presided over by Palo Archbishop John Du during the visit of the saint’s pilgrim image on April 25, 2016. (Photo: Eileen N. Ballesteros)

TABON-TABON, Leyte, April 27, 2016 – Once completely devastated by super typoon Yolanda, the now reconstructed and bigger St. Anthony de Padua Parish will be serving as an archdiocesan shrine in the future.

“We will make [the parish] a shrine of St. Anthony de Padua for the whole archdiocese where we can do pilgrimage, especially for the devotees of St. Anthony de Padua,” said Palo Archbishop John Du.

“God has a plan for the people of Tabon-Tabon,” said the prelate in a Mass he presided over during the visit here of two first-class pilgrim relics of St. Anthony of Padua on April

US bishops’ initiative

Du, who is a devotee of the miraculous saint, marvelled at the size of the new church edifice in St. Anthony de Padua Parish in this town vis-à-vis the town’s population.

The smaller old church of St. Anthony of Padua located at the town’s poblacion collapsed during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013 and typhoon Ruby in 2014.

With the help of US bishops, the new concrete church was built near the site of the destroyed old wooden church.

The church could accommodate around a thousand churchgoers, including 250 persons in the choir loft.

Canon law on shrines

Du initially thought of changing the beneficiary for the US bishops initiative, considering the expanse of the design vis-à-vis the small number of the town’s populace.

Canon 1230 of the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church defines a shrine as a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety, with the approval of the local ordinary.

Section 1 of Canon 1232 provides, “The local ordinary is competent to approve the statutes of a diocesan shrine; the conference of bishops for the statutes of a national shrine; the Holy See alone for the statutes of an international shrine.”

Tabon-Tabon is a fifth class municipality in the province of Leyte with population of barely 9,838 residents as of 2010 census. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News) 

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