Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

A visit to the Society of the Angel of Peace Chapel

- Barbara Anne Ocaba -

“Any church should be read and not seen,” said Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, founder of the Society of the Angel of Peace (SAP), a congregation of liturgic ministry. SAP’s chapel, located deep within barangay Cansojong in Talisay City is home to different shrines namely: the Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus Nazareno, Shrine of Manaoag, Shrine of Sto. Nino and the Shrine of Divine Mercy.

Archdiocesan Shrine of Jesus Nazareno

SAP has a relic of the hand of Jesus Nazareno, which is originally from Quiapo, Manila. Msgr. Garcia recalls that when he was looking for images for the chapel’s Stations of the Cross, all he could find were hands. Later, when he went to Ozamiz, he found a relic of Jesus Nazareno, which is also a hand. He found himself bringing the hand of the Black Nazarene to Cansojong for Nazareno devotees there. On May 30, 2007, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal declared the chapel an Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno.

Shrine of the Our Lady of Manaoag

Msgr. Garcia received a life-sized image of the Our Lady of Manaoag from Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, the rector of the Basilica del San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila. Because the image is so big and would not fit into any part of the chapel, SAP had to build a small pavilion outside the chapel for the image. Aside from the Shrine of Manaoag in Pangasinan, SAP’s shrine has the only original veil of Our Lady of Manaoag, which was also as a gift.

Shrine of the Divine Mercy

At the second floor of the chapel is the Shrine of Jesus, The Divine Mercy. Jesus’ image was painted by an artist from Carcar. At the right side of the image of Jesus is the image of Sister Faustina, while at His left side is the image of Saint Nicholas de Bari, the original Santa Claus. Below the altar are the images of the secondary patrons of the monastery, Francisco and Jacinta.

Shrine of the Sto. Nino

The shrine of the Sto. Niño is found deep inside the church, at the left end of the wall farthest from the main entrance. What’s unique about this shrine is that it has been granted by Pope John Paul II with plenary indulgence – the full pardon of temporal punishment due for sins which have already been forgiven. This image of the Sto. Niño is the one used during the fluvial parade of the Fiesta Senyor in Cebu City.

 Aside from the different shrines, the SAP chapel itself is also unique. Compared to most churches where the altar is located in front, the altar at SAP is found at the middle with the people surrounding it during Mass. Mark Angelo Obrero, head of SAP’s Anthonians or Knights of the Altar, said, “It represents that we are gathering around the Lord.” The altar is also separated with rails. This represents that the brothers who come to Mass have already dedicated their lives to the Lord, separated from the outside world. The marble stand of the altar’s tabernacle was also the one used by Pope John Paul II for meditation when he visited Cebu. It was Cardinal Vidal who gave the marble stand to the SAP chapel.

Truly, the Society of the Angel of Peace Monastery is a place to visit when one is in Talisay City.

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