P1.4 M needed to rebuild Pitalo chapel

(The Freeman) - May 4, 2016 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The rebuilding of the 91-year-old San Vicente chapel in San Fernando town would need about P1.4 million, according to an engineer consulted by the Catholic community organization that oversees the heritage site in Barangay Pitalo.

 Cary Manlosa, president of the community organization, said that their group has about P700,000 but this amount is just half of the actual money needed to rebuild the chapel that was gutted by fire Tuesday afternoon.

 Manlosa appeals to the faithful and devotees of San Vicente Ferrer to help rebuild the chapel, which many believe as the source of numerous miracles like the healing of sickness.

In fact, it was the thanksgiving gesture of a devotee reportedly cured of cancer that caused the fire after a couple lit 4,900 candles at the back of the altar. The people of Pitalo, however, are not angry at the couple because they consider it an accident.

 "Di sad ta moingon na sila gyud ang sad-an kay wa man sad gyud ta kakita og unsay nahitabo. Pero og dili unta to sila ang nakasunog mas maayo unta to og mopakita sila karon, mangayo og pasaylo kay wa man gyud siguro to nila tuyo-a. Ato nalang gyud ingnon na aksidente," said Manlosa.

 "Di ta mo-blame kay makakontra naman ta ana og tawo nga devotee pud raba to sila," he added.

 Alma Caminio, the vendor who sold the 4,900 candles to the couple, said that in ordinary days, people cured by San Vicente Ferrer buy even 10,000 to 15,000 candles as offering.

 Caminio said it was only the couple that had not asked for assistance from the chapel staff when they lit their candles at the back of the chapel. The couple bought from her 49 bundles containing 100 candlesticks each. A bundle costs P200.

 Usually, the candles are lit up 5 to 10 pieces at a time. She said the couple may have lit up the candles altogether. As early as 6 a.m. Wednesday, Manlosa and several other volunteers and devotees of San Vicente had cleaned up the chapel from the debris brought about by the fire including the removal of the dangling sheets from the damaged roof. The chapel was built in 1925.

At around 2 p.m. yesterday, all the debris had been cleared. Some of the devotees washed the religious icons that they have salvaged from the fire.

 Candle vendor and Sinug prayer dancer Gertrudes Gerantes was among the volunteers. She said she believes in the miracles of San Vicente Ferrer through the oil and water that used to flow inside the chapel.

Gerantes, 53, said she cried upon learning of the fire and helped salvage what they can from their chapel.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma appeals for help from concerned agencies for the people who were also affected by the fire. He said the archdiocese will help provide assistance to the victims as well as in the rebuilding of the chapel. — (FREEMAN)

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