Group accused of spreading rumors: Mandaue “miracle” not true – residents
Ni Bryner L. Diaz (The Freeman) - October 26, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A religious group that owns an image of the Our Lady of the Holy Eucharist has gotten the ire of a homeowners association in Tabok, Mandaue City for allegedly spreading rumors of a miracle and causing chaos in their community.

The group, which calls itself the Order of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, led by a certain Bishop Clarisso Benito L. Alvarez Jr. D.D. OHMS, has been accused by the board of directors of the Almers Compound Neighborhood Association for spreading rumors about a supposed miracle, causing people to flock to their neighborhood.

Alvarez and some 10 other members of the religious group are staying in a house owned by Carmencita Botir located inside Almers Compound for two weeks now. The group brought with them a life-size image of the Our Lady of the Holy Eucharist, which, according to some residents in the area, is miraculous.

Some residents claim that a female beggar, who looked like the image, was seen roaming around the neighborhood two weeks ago. There were talks that the beggar and the image are wearing the same sandals.

Mercy Tundag, president of the Almers Compound Neighborhood Association, however, said the talks of a miraculous image is a hoax and Alvarez' group is just capitalizing on the fear that people still feel after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Cebu and Bohol last October 15 by spreading rumors about a miracle.

Tundag told The Freeman that people started coming to their place after a post in a social networking site spoke of a miraculous image in their compound chapel.

Botir, who welcomed Alvarez' group into her home, told The Freeman that Alvarez and his group first sought shelter at a chapel of an abandoned factory nearby then moved to the chapel of Paradise Home, before ending up at Almers Compound, where they were also turned away by chapel officials. Botir said that she agreed to provide shelter for Alvarez' group in the hopes that she would be cured of an ailment.

Fe Librero, another resident, said people from as far as Tabuelan in northern Cebu have come to their place since the rumor started. Librero said she had to answer queries from kibitzers on where Botir's house is located. She, however, said that she does not believe that the image is miraculous.

Alvarez, meanwhile, denied spreading rumors that the image of the Virgin Mary was miraculous, saying that although he has a firm faith on the Holy Mother, he has not experienced the "miracle" that residents are speaking of.

The homeowners association has already drafted a resolution asking Alvarez and his group to leave the compound after the supposed miracle brought them so much inconvenience. Tundag said she feels sorry for the people who were led to believe that the image is miraculous, especially those who come from far places.

Devotees also started flocking to the St. Augustine Parish in Poblacion, Alcantara, a town in southern Cebu, last October 23, after the image of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary reportedly moved its head to the right, facing Bohol.

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

Msgr. Binghay said it is understandable for people to easily believe in reports of miracles 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. — /QSB (FREEMAN)


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