Saving the Inayawan chapel-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
THE meeting held at the Inayawan chapel last Sunday night was interesting, not only for the mix of personalities that graced it but also for the motivation of the group that organized it. The activity was part of an effort to end the conflict that resulted in priests deciding to hold masses outside the chapel instead.
The Inayawan chapel, which houses the image of St. Augustine of Hippo, is among the older and bigger of such structures in the Cebu archdiocese. It is an important landmark and was the venue of Sunday masses and the focal point of the fiesta celebration of the barangay for decades until conflict on the ownership of the lot where it was built erupted some five years ago.
Recollect priests of the La Consolacion parish (whose reach encompasses Inayawan) in Barangay San Roque, Talisay City clashed with the lot claimant and the chapel organization on how to manage the structure. The parish priest eventually decided to hold the masses elsewhere, a move that had the support of then Cebu archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
Many things have happened since then. The designated administrator of the lot (the lot claimant is residing abroad) had died. Cardinal Vidal retired and has been replaced by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. Another parish priest has taken over La Consolacion parish. The situation looked favorable for finally solving the problem.
For years, the Catholic faithful in Inayawan was split in two, with one supporting the organization that continued to hold other forms of religious activities inside the chapel and the other supporting the decision of the parish to hold masses outside of it. The latter also started the ball rolling for the construction of a church in another lot inside the barangay.
A new faction was added Sunday with the creation of the Inayawan St. Augustine Chapel Association, whose professed aim is to end the impasse by following the guidelines set by the archdiocese for the operation of community chapels. But while the group is seeking to unify the Catholic faithful around its goal, it has also alienated itself from some officers of the old chapel organization. The rift surfaced in Sunday’s meeting in the form of a heated verbal exchange.
The new group is confident, however, of getting the support of the Catholic faithful in Inayawan. That remains to be seen, of course, but it looks like they may get that support considering the personalities leading the group, including its president Dr. Ado Macaraya and officials like Sun.Star Cebu’s Sam Costanilla and Southwestern University’s Pierre Infante. Barangay leader Jerome Jaca was among the organizers.
Infante, who once headed a Parish Pastoral Council, is confident that they will finally be able to straighten out the activities of the chapel and convince the archdiocese of their honest intention. He has fond memories of the Inayawan fiesta and of the chapel while he was growing up in the barangay and hoped for a return of the kind of festive and united atmosphere that prevailed then.
I also have attended many masses in that chapel in the few months that my family resided in the barangay almost a decade ago. In this sense, I am following this new development with keen interest.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2013.