“Miracle” in Alcantara town church: Mary “moves” head; faces toward Bohol
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - October 24, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Hundreds of devotees flocked to the St. Augustine Parish in Poblacion, Alcantara, a town in southern Cebu, after the image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary reportedly moved its head to the right, facing Bohol.

Alcantara resident Bebe Quiroga, 63, who is a member of the Parish Pastoral Council-Worship Committee, told The FREEMAN that they were amazed upon seeing the head of the image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, which originally was facing front, face to the right, in the direction of where Bohol is. Quiroga said they tried moving the head back to its original position but could not do so.

The image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary was placed in front of the altar of the church because it is the Rosary Month and residents would pray the Rosary every dawn and at 6 in the evening.

Residents immediately linked what they called a “miracle” to the earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol last October 15, which killed over a hundred and destroyed buildings, mostly decades-old churches in Bohol.

Quiroga believes the “miracle” is Mother Mary’s message to Filipinos to have faith and believe in God.

“Wala gyud matay-og ang imahen though gibutang ra kini sa lamesa during sa linog last week,” she said, adding she expects more devotees to visit their church.

Parish Youth Coordinating Council (PYCC) president Russell Guardina, 21, said that it is not the first time that they noticed the head of the statue of the Virgin Mother move its head.

“The head of the statue first moved last October 15, during the earthquake but the following day it went back to normal and the second time was this morning (yesterday),” she said.

Guardiana’s statement was corroborated by Samantha Delarita, 19, the PYCC secretary.

Delarita told The FREEMAN that parish priest Fr. Peter Monteron, who is out of the town for a recollection, was already informed about what happened.

Cebu Archdiocese Episcopal Vicar Msgr. Esteban Binghay, when told of the reported “miracle” said people should “remain objective.”

In a phone interview with The Freeman yesterday, Binghay said the archdiocese is still waiting for the details about the alleged “miracle” from the parish priest, adding that it is the parish priest’s responsibility to make initial investigations about such occurrences.

SPO1 Jared Llenos and PO1 Madrid Aparre said that early yesterday their station received a call from Alcantara Vice Mayor Beatrice Caburnay requesting for police assistance at the church.

“Among nakita nga samok kaayo og nag-iyahay og unhanay para makagakos og makaduol sa birhen. Amo dayon silang gipalinya para malikayan ang kasamok tungod kay nag abot-abot naman ang mga tawo,” Aparre said.

Elizabeth Tabanaw, a resident of the nearby town of Moalboal, said that upon hearing the news of the “miracle”, she, together with her relatives and her baby, went to the St. Augustine Parish to check if the news was true and at the same time, to pray.

“Mga around 1:00 p.m. mi naabot taas kaayo ang linya naabot na sa gawas sa church unya 3:00 p.m. na wala pa gyud mi maabot sa birhen,” she said, adding the movement of the head of the statue was indeed a miracle.

Fr. Herardo dela Victoria of Ginatilan said he also went to the church upon hearing the news.

When asked if the movement was a miracle, he said this is still subject for investigation. However, he added that personally, he thinks that the movement is a message for Catholics, reminding them of the Holy Mother’s mandate.

Msgr. Binghay said it is understandable for people to think that the alleged movement of the image was a miracle because of the disaster that recently hit Cebu and Bohol. He added that this may be taken as a “subjected perception” caused by the fear of the people of the recent disaster, especially with the continuing aftershocks. 

But Binghay said that if the reported “miracle” is true, it would be a wonderful sign. For now, however, Binghay said there is a process that needs to be followed and people need to be objective while waiting for the report of the parish priest.

The St. Augustine Parish acquired the image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in the 1980s. — with AJ de la Torre/QSB (FREEMAN)

ALCANTARA VICE MAYOR BEATRICE CABURNAY BEBE QUIROGA BINGHAY BOHOL BUT BINGHAY CEBU AND BOHOL MIRACLE OUR LADY OF THE HOLY ROSARY PARISH ST. AUGUSTINE PARISH
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