AN OPEN-AIR St. Augustine Chapel now stands at the Solid Earth Development Corp. (SEDC)-St. Augustine EcoPilgrimage Park in Barangay Magsico, San Fernando, Cebu.
The park has also been opened to visitors and group activities.
Fr. Murphy P. Sarsonas, parish priest of San Agustin de Hippo Parish in the town’s hinterland area, blessed the chapel recently and officiated the first mass.
Various activities have been conducted at the eco-park, especially during Lent—Via Crucis (way of the cross), Visita Iglesia (church visits) and Sugat (resurrection commemoration).
The parish youth also conducted a team building activity, while the local church started the conduct of a regular First Saturday Mass last May 4, and 2,000 Hail Mary Prayer Devotion, said Mitzie Almira I. Carin, who works for SEDC, the owner and operator of the park.
SEDC developed the park from a seven-hectare mined-out area in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cebu, which made the eco-park a model of a pocket forest that every parish in Cebu has been mandated to come up with.
As chair of the Cebu Archdiocese Commission on Environmental Concerns (Cacec), Sarsonas championed the quest for setting up pocket forests, a pursuit he would try to fulfill at his new parish assignment in Barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City.
Architect Socorro Borromeo Atega represented Cacec and the Archdiocese during the blessing of the chapel. She has been serving as the committee consultant since 2016, after the International Eucharistic Congress.
SEDC president Dennis B. Tenefrancia, a lawyer, and senior technical adviser Hiroyuki Sakakibara also attended the blessing with Municipal Councilors Gemma Bacalla, Eutiquio Baricuatro, Erico Enad and Teddy Luzano.
Magsico Barangay Captain Mario Sebial also graced the occasion with councilors Victor Paypa, Primo Paradero and Roger Villamor, and some parishioners and members of the San Agustin de Hippo Environmental Stewards.
Taiheiyo Cement Philippines Inc. (TCPI), which sources its earth materials for cement production from SEDC, sent to the event its human resources and administration division manager Zenith Rubi, community relations section head Vanessa Bongcawil and community relations coordinator Ted Frances Servano.
The SEDC-St. Augustine EcoPilgrimage Park was blessed by Cebu Archbishop Jose S. Palma on March 22, 2018. It is open to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Carin, division manager of SEDC for human resources and administration.
Some tourists and religious pilgrims visit the eco-park to pray and even plant their own trees, or they just enjoy and connect with nature, said Carin.
Lovers, she said, have also made the eco-park a venue for their prenuptial pictorials.