Cebu News

For St. Teresa de Avila Chapel breaks ground

May B. Miasco - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The late Cebuano priest Teofilo Camomot passed away three decades ago but his saintly virtues and notable life story continues to live among the people.


Proponents of his ongoing cause for beatification and canonization took the opportunity on his 30th death anniversary to break ground for the chapel built in honor of St. Teresa de Avila, the patron saint of the Daughters of St. Teresa (DST), the religious congregation founded by Camomot.

Soon enough, the chapel may be modified into a basilica for Camomot, who is currently a candidate for sainthood.

The chapel was constructed to accommodate the growing number of Catholic faithful seeking to implore Camomot's intercession that is believed to have healed sick people and granted favors to petitioners.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, in his homily during the Pontifical Mass at the DST compound in Barangay Valladolid, Carcar City, recalled that there were only a few people gathered before inside Camomot's sanctuary where his remains are laid.

But more people are attracted to seek his intercession as days go by and this was evident in yesterday’s Mass where attendees spilled outside the existing DST chapel.

“That is why we dreamt of a bigger church... The visit of many people who recognize his heroic virtues is in itself a sign that he is becoming more known to people especially with several testimonies of healing and favors received," he said.

Stories of healing even came from far areas.

Teresita Sonia Ocampo, who is from Luzon, joined the pilgrimage yesterday to pray for thanks. She believes she was healed from Stage 4 lung cancer, which she had been battling for three years, through Camomot's intercession. This year physicians downgraded the cancer to benign, she shared.

It was her mother-in-law from Cebu who gave her a handkerchief that had been wiped on Camomot's tomb.

Accounts are currently collated by the proponents of Camomot's ongoing cause for beatification. A miracle is needed before a candidate can be called venerable and a saint.

The DST sisters petitioned to open the cause which the Vatican approved.

DST Superior General Mother Ma. Louella Grace Buscato said she was amazed by how fast the plan was realized. She recalled that it was only last year that a chapel was proposed to be built.

She said the congregation is beyond grateful to the donor because it will surely help in providing a more spacious and comfortable area for the faithful to pray in.

She said the chapel has a seating capacity of 1,500 persons.

The chapel was a brainchild of Jose "Dodong" Gullas, who is one of the staunch supporters of Camomot's sainthood. He also believes that Camomot is instrumental to the great achievements and “miracles” he is granted in life like having a daughter.

Gullas, The FREEMAN chairman, said it was only a dream of his to build a basilica for Camomot. He said living with Camomot's virtues, he wants to plant something good on earth.

Architect Arnold Saballa said the chapel of St. Teresa de Avila will cover over 2,000 square meters.

The chapel may be modified into a basilica for Camomot pending his ongoing cause for beatification and canonization.

He said site development may cost around P30 million and another P58 million for the construction of the edifice.

The chapel will sit atop at an elevated area facing the DST compound, and stand parallel to the museum Domus Teofilo (House of Teofilo).

Saballa said the chapel's design is coherent to the museum that will also follow a modern concept. Construction may start mid-October and is targeted to finish a year later barring any delays.

The religious artworks such as the main door of the chapel and its altar table and retablo will be sculpted by Aguinaldo Pagkatipunan, who also made the bronze life-sized replica of Camomot now standing at the museum.

Also part of the design team is Father Brian Brigoli, the chairman of the Cebu Archdiocesan Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church. — BRP (FREEMAN)

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