Archdiocese waits for more donationsBy Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
So far, the Cebu Archdiocese has collected only half of its target budget of P60 million to support activities of church-led celebrations in Rome and in Cebu.
“We appeal to everybody to help us in raising the amount we needed,” said Msgr. Roberto “Boy” Alesna who was interviewed after he celebrated Mass at the Capitol yesterday.
Alesna, chairman of the committee on finance, said he wasn’t too worried about the slack though.
“We are very hopeful and confident that we will be able to reach the amount that we needed for the expenses in Rome and in Cebu,” said Alesna, who is also the parish priest of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
The P60 million target is for activities separate from the actual canonization rites by the Vatican such printing primers on the life of Pedro Calungsod, new vestments of priests and construction of a templete for the Nov. 30 thanksviging Mass in Cebu.
Last week the Aboitiz Group turned over a check for P3 million. Other individuals and companies have pledged amounts or donations in kind, but not all have been delivered yet, said Alesna.
Some adjustments have been made due to the financial constraints.
The floor area of the templete for the Nov. 30 thanksgiving Mass at the South Road Properties (SRP) was reduced to half from 1,500 square meters to 700 square meters, said Fr. Raul Gallego, chairman of the committee on venue in an earlier interview.
A P30 million budget proposed for the open air celebration in Cebu was reduced to P5 million.
“As of now, we have P30 million to P35 million,” said Alesna yesterday. Half of the target P60 million budget of the Archdiocese was described as pegged for activities in Rome, with the other half of the thanksgiving celebration in Cebu.
A templete is under construction in the SRP, a site which may become a permanent landmark after its use on Nov. 30. It will have a wooden altar table on a raised stage with a bamboo pyramid design soaring above it.
Not all quarters are happy about the pressure to raise a huge amount for a single event amid conditions of poverty in Cebu and the country.
An open letter from a group calling itself “Concerned Catholics in Cebu City and Mandaue City nga Nagpakabana” said they were happy about Calungsod’s coming canonization but “we have to be practical and be cautious in our expenditure”.
As an alternative, they suggested holding simultaneous Masses in all churches in Metro Cebu, and using the money to build low-cost houses for the poor and those facing eviction.
During a fund-raising event at the Radisson Blu hotel last May, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal addressed the issue of public unease over the large expenditures.
“Why the huge outlays? Because we are projecting many people to come, whether in Rome or in Cebu… We are preparing structures to make the celebrations more convenient, more accesible, and more memorable for the people,” Vidal said in his prepared remarks during the launch of a fund-raiser pegged on art work of celebrated Cebu furniture designer Kenneth Cobunpue.
“The canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod requires much material resources not because sainthood can be bought. No, Blessed Pedro is a saint whethe we contribute a single centavo to his cause or not,” Vidal explained.
Cebu’s 147 parishes and all 376 diocesan priests were encouraged to raise donations.
Last May, a Cobunpue boxed sculptue was launched as a limited edition commemorative piece for each donor who gives P25,000. The first 20 sculptures were turned over and blessed.
Each donation comes with a chance to win a raffle prize of two BMW cars and an SUV. The raffle draw will held on Dec. 8.
“In behalf of Archbishop Jose Palma and His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, we appeal to the people to help and support the project until we are over with the celebrations on Nov. 30,” said Alesna yesterday.
Around 5,000 pilgrims from different parts of the world will be part of the Filipino delegation to Rome.
The number includes about 200 archbishops, bishops, and priests, said Margie Matheu of the secretariat of the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Alesna said some groups started leaving last week. He said the last group where he belongs will leaving on Oct. 19.
“Everything is ready in Rome,” he said.
Calungsod, a teenager from the Visayas, was a mission helper who was killed in 1668 in the Ladrones Islands of present day Guam. He was accompanying Jesuit priest Fr. Diego de San Vitores who was baptizing natives when they were attacked by two angry villagers with spears and a cutlass.