ANGELES CITY—The loss of the original image of the Apung Mamacalulu (Lord of the Holy Sepulcher or Santo Entierro) in 1928 and the feud that it spawned here found closure on Friday.
This came as San Fernando (Pampanga) Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, at the recommendation of Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, decreed the chapel housing the replica of the icon as an archdiocesan shrine in Barangay Lourdes Sur here.
Before some 3,000 devotees, Aniceto also established the chapel as a “center of mercy.”
“I attest to the genuineness of the faith,” David told Aniceto at the start of the canonical rites. Catholic congregations all over the country accompanied the rites with prayers, David said.
The original image, a gift by Fr. Macario Paras to the Holy Rosary Parish in Barangay Sto. Rosario in 1872, is enshrined in the same parish. A member of the Paras-Dayrit clan took the original image but it was returned after the Supreme Court ruled in 1929 that the image and its carriage were owned by the Holy Rosary Parish because these were gifts by Paras.
The devotion to Apung Mamacalulu started in 1834 when Paras built a sanctuary on the same lot where the shrine stands now.
Ensuring the resumption of the celebration of Masses, Aniceto also assigned Fr. Enrique Luzung as shrine rector.
In 1933, Manila Archbishop Miguel O’ Doherty refused the request of Don Clemente Dayrit to hold Masses at the Apung Mamacalulu chapel because it was not a property of the Church.
Between 1933 and 1984, Masses were occasionally held by priests from other congregations.
In 1985, former San Fernando Archbishop Oscar Cruz banned Masses there because representatives of the Paras-Dayrit clan blocked efforts by the Roman Catholic Church to administer the chapel and hold sacraments there.
On Oct. 11, 2010, Aniceto recognized the support of the Paras-Dayrit clan and lifted the ban, which lasted 25 years. David said 12 Masses would be scheduled daily.
Aniceto called the shrine the “Terra Santa of Pampanga,” referring to a site in Jerusalem that hosts the Lord of Sepulcher, which is widely visited by pilgrims every Good Friday.
“May this shrine be our oasis of hope and His death, life-giving to our faith,” he said. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon