THE CATHOLIC FAITHFUL will ultimately bear part of the cost of having several churches in the Diocese of Virac repaired after super typhoon Rolly inflicted heavy damage on religious facilities, including the centuries-old St. John the Baptist Church in Bato and the Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Calatagan, Virac. (Diocese of Virac photo)
The Catholic faithful are expected to attend pre-dawn Christmas masses beginning today, Dec. 16, 2020, with those in heavily damaged churches to be held either at a nearby plaza, inside the church compound or at nearby chapels.
Many parishioners will have to bring their own monobloc chairs or risk standing for at least two hours as seats will be occupied due to coronavirus health protocols restricting occupancy and imposing physical distancing.
With the theme “2021: Year of Missio Ad Gentes and the New Evangelization – Gifted to Give,” the celebration of Misa de Aguinaldo in the Diocese of Virac will start at 4 A.M., with all participants to observe social distancing and wearing of face masks pursuant to the guidelines issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The early morning Masses will be streamed live on Facebook to enable for those who would not be able to attend the liturgical celebrations physically.
At the historic, centuries-old St. John the Baptist Church in Bato which lost its roof to the fury of super typhoon Rolly last Nov. 1, 2020, the Masses will be held at the nearby Tingog Center which has less than half the capacity of the church.
At the Our Lady of Assumption chapel in Calatagan, Virac, the eucharistic celebration will be at the portico, with tents to be installed at the compound to shield parishioners from the elements.
In Palta Big, Virac, it will be held at the barangay plaza located just in front of the Our Lady of Salvation church.
According to a report of the Caritas Virac Justice and Peace, Inc. of the Diocese of Virac, eight churches and chapels, as well as formation centers and other facilities, sustained major damage during the super typhoon.
At least P5 million will be needed to restore the St. John the Baptist Church, which lost 90 percent of its corrugated GI roofing, half of its steel trusses, 90 percent of its plywood ceiling and almost all of its chandeliers, aside from the heavy main door and two side doors.
Its annex building, which was also unroofed, will have to be installed with new roofing sheets and wooden trusses, as well as its plywood ceiling and half of its glass windows. This will cost an additional million, the report stated.
Another P5 million would be required to rebuild the roofing, roof framing and ceiling of the Our Lady of the Assumption chapel in Calatagan Proper in Virac.
Damage and restoration cost for both the Mary Mother of Church chapel in Antipolo, Virac and the Santo Domingo de Calsada chapel in Santo Domingo, also in Virac, has been pegged at P3.5 million each.
The similarly unroofed St. Michael the Archangel Church in San Miguel town will need P3 million while its rectory, which had the same damage, will require another P2 million.
The other religious facilitie’s damage and restoration costs are as follows: Immaculate Conception Seminary in Cavinitan, Virac, P6 million; Sts. Louis & Zelle Martin Church Rectory & Formation Center in Mabato, San Miguel, P2 million; Our Lady of Salvacion Formation Center & Galilee at Palta, Virac, P1 million; Sta. Maria Josefa de Corazon Church in Buyo, Virac, P1 million; and, St. Therese of the Child Jesus Mission Church in Pagsangahan, San Miguel, P1 million.