CLARIN, Bohol, September 28, (PIA)—As devotees of Saint Michael Archangel would gather at the cramped and suffocating alternative church the town religious erected after the great earthquake in 2013 devastated its religious structure, they would be coming in to a better, more spacious and elegant P30 million church next year.
“It is a huge blessing,” humbly confesses one of the senior parishioners of the town who is celebrating its second feastday under the temporary structure made from the rubbles of the church which crumbled when the great shake happened.
“It was a great loss, I was shaken after escaping from inside the shaking house, stepped into the middle of the highway where it is safer, and saw the old church gone,” he recalled his experience that morning when he has to shout his instructions to his family to stay under the protection of the tables when the earthquake lasted.
His family: a septuagenarian wife, daughter and her family as well as a son were inside the house when the tremor occurred, escaped with barely some scratches; shaken.
We all looked in horror at the sight and it was just to painful to us we could not stop the tears, he shared.
The church, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel has its humble beginnings in the 1920s and completed well in the American period, lay flat, the newly refurbished facade the only significant reminder that a church used to stand where it was.
While many churches in Bohol suffered similar devastation, it was a hopeless case for Clarin, whose church was later built did not get any declaration as national cultural treasure, or important cultural treasure.
Declarations like these could put the church repair, rebuilding or rehabilitation under government program.
The later initiatives of the local church led by Rev Fr Johnson Inte and the parish pastoral council looked at the only immediate source they considered: Solicit and ask for pledges from the equally needing help.
“In the critical moments of the devastating effect of the earthquake last October 15, 2013, Clarinians prove to be resilient to its natural shocks that caused the church and some houses to topple down and crush into pieces. Although the earth’s destructive forces have always been part of the human experience, it seems to be bigger job to rebuild a church that has existed for several decades nurturing the faith-filled lives of the parishioners,” a church set up donation site appealed.
Pitching on the desire of the parishioners to reestablish the beacon of faith, the Parish Finance Council (PFC) and Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), appealed for help by sharing some of their blessings.
The appeal also surged to the office of the local Bishop who echoed the need to rebuild the church.
And while the town and some benefactors raised about P6 million through that endeavor, the good news came: Catholic Bishops Conference of the US [CBCUSA] came to donate P65 million for the church, the parishioner excitedly shared.
The church plan needs only P30 million and we were given P65 million, is it not great?, he asked still not believing their luck.
We have built a center to allow all religious groups and organizations to hold office but the biggest news is that donation which we did not really expect, he stressed.
Now in its feverish construction stage, contractors were still on with the building construction on the eve of the feastday, September 28. [rac/PIA-7/Bohol]