A church worker walks past rubble of the 18th century St. Catherine of Alexandria after its bell tower was destroyed following a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the town of Porac, Pampanga.
24 Pampanga heritage churches closed for quake inspection
Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — Twenty-four heritage churches in this province have been shut down by the Archdiocese of San Fernando pending inspection by experts to ensure they were not weakened by last Monday’s earthquake.

“Holy Rosary Church in Angeles is closed for the meantime for a thorough inspection,” parish priest Fr. Francis Dizon told The STAR yesterday.

With the closure of these churches, priests have been holding masses and ceremonies in other places determined to be structurally safe.

In Porac, where the Chuzon Supermarket collapsed and buried scores of people during the earthquake, the Sta. Catalina de Alejandria Church – built in 1867 – was heavily damaged by the quake.

Sr. Maria Garcia of the Apu Mamacalulu Shrine in Angeles said masses are being held outdoors, pending assurance of safety from engineers. ?In the hometown of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Gov. Lilia Pineda, the San Agustin Church was reported to be unsafe.

The church’s belfry collapsed and fissures were observed on the floor and foundations.

The church is located beside the residence of Arroyo, not far from the Lubao municipal hall.

The archdiocese’s decision to shut down the churches was apparently based on the recommendations of the Archdiocesan Commission on Church Heritage Secretariat, which coordinated with engineering experts and national agencies to ensure the safety of the churches.?In the first Pampanga district, closed churches include the Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City, Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish in Mabalacat and San Bartolome Apostol Parish in Magalang.?In the second district – represented by Arroyo in Congress – closed churches are the San Agustin in Lubao, Sta. Lucia in Sasmuan, Immaculada Concepcion in Guagua; Santiago Apostol or Betis Church in Guagua, San Jose Labrador in Floridablanca, Sta. Catalina de Alexandria in Porac and Sta. Rita de Cascia in Sta. Rita.?In the third district, closed churches are the Metropolitan Cathedral City in San Fernando, Sta. Catalina Alexandria in Arayat, San Guillermo in Bacolor, Sta. Monica in Mexico, Sta. Ana Parish in Sta. Ana and San Vicente Ferrer in Calulut, San Fernando.?The closed churches in the fourth district are the San Pedro Apostol in Apalit, San Andres in Candaba, San Nicolas de Tolentino in Macabebe, San Miguel Arkanghel in Masantol, Sta. Monica in Minalin, San Luis Gonzaga in San Luis, Nuestra Señora del Pilar in San Simon and Sto. Tomas Apostol in Sto. Tomas.

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