Cebu congregation observes quake anniversary | Inquirer News

Cebu congregation observes quake anniversary

By: - Senior Reporter / @inquirervisayas
/ 03:58 PM October 15, 2014

CEBU CITY, Philippines—At least 1,000 people gathered at the Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City Wednesday morning to mark the first anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed the church’s century old belfry and killed 12 persons in Cebu.

The faithful stood in silence for a minute, lit candles and offered prayers and chants during the 8 a.m. Mass at the basilica’s outdoor pilgrim center.


“Together we mark this day with prayers of remembrance, of healing and guidance,” said Fr. Jonas Mejares, rector of the basilica who presided over the Mass with a dozen of concelebrating priests.

“The images of the tragedy of Oct. 15, 2013 are still so vivid in our mind and senses,” he added. “As we look back, we remember the lives of those who died so tragically.”


Amid the gloom, Mejares urged the people to “upgrade your faith” and to move on.

“The earthquake that we experienced last year was a test of faith. Let us be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways, and that His plans are not our plans. We could not fully understand God. But we know that He’s one with us in our sufferings,” he said.

Mejares, who is called the singing Augustinian priest, ended his homily by singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The Basilica del Sto. Niño has been closed to the public since the earthquake but daily Masses continue in the quadrangle of the Pilgrim Center in front of the church.

Pre-restoration activities, which include the installation of scaffoldings, braces and shoring to shield the people from falling debris and to protect the structure itself from further damage, are in progress under close supervision of the Agustinian fathers and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

The big challenge now is to restore the belfry, which was completed in 1740.

In 2015, the Agustinian fathers, who supervise the basilica, will celebrate the 450th year of the finding of the Sto. Niño image in the ruins of a village in Cebu, the presence of the Agustinian friars in the Philippines, and the 50th anniversary of the church’s title as a “minor basilica” designated by the Vatican.


The basilica is home of the image of the Sto. Nino de Cebu, which was given as gift by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to Cebu’s Queen Juana in 1521.

The current structure was built in 1735 and completed in 1740.

Mejares said he hoped to re-open the basilica by the end of November or the first week of December 2014.

“We just have to cordon off the area near the belfry. But the church will be re-opened to the public,” he said.


Bohol to remember earthquake, people’s unity in rising up again

Bohol quake ‘like 32 Hiroshima bombs’

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: anniversary, Basilica del Sto Niño, Bohol earthquake, cebu earthquake, Earthquake, Fr. Jonas Mejares, Visayas, Visayas earthquake
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.