“THERE is no other way except the way of the cross to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Father Restituto Lumanlan kept repeating this passage as he guided a brief tour at SVD Dambana ng Buhay located at Babo Pangulo in Porac, Pampanga. Father Resty invited me and Leigh Jocson of Jocson College together with director Jayson Pabalan to see this spectacular project of the Shrine of the Risen Christ Foundation, Inc. It was a drizzly afternoon and the energetic Among Resty was enthusiastic enough to let us experience the journey all the way.
The Dambana ng Buhay sits on a three-hectare property donated by the children of the late lawyer Agustin Coronel Dizon. The spot is envisioned to be a place for people who wish to commune with nature and God.
The artistic plan was designed by Palafox and Associates which features the Way of the Cross consisting of 13 stations that are uniquely sculptured using lahar from the Pinatubo resulting in a bronze-like finish. The stations are strategically placed in a zigzag pattern. These sculptures were created in 2003 before being transferred to “Dambana ng Buhay” three years ago. Each sculpture costs a hundred thousand pesos to build.
The sanctuary does not end with the 13 stations. Father Lumanlan dreams of having a 14th station... a large sculpture of the Risen Christ. Once completed, the 160 feet tall sculpture will be installed on the top elevated portion of the land just after the end of the 13th station. When this comes to reality, “Dambana ng Buhay” will not only attract the local people but also will get global attention just like the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
Father Resty explained the importance of giving more attention to the Risen Christ. He borrowed Jesus’ words who said, “I came to give you life and have it abundantly.” He said that a lot of attention has been given mostly in the Death of Christ, citing novenas and Apung Mamacalulu.
Father Lumanlan is concern with some people who are focused more on the Death of Christ rather than the Resurrection of Christ. This is also the reason why Among Resty is planning to create a Risen Christ Festival at Dambana ng Buhay. The place also has formation and renewal facilities with air-conditioned rooms complete with toilet and bath. A “Church of the Resurrection” is also set to be erected in this majestic property.
“Obat pane namu dikil quing kematayan nang Kristu?” Father Resty furthered. “Mas maulaga ing ketasan kapagmasusiasn sukdulan ning pangasubling mebie nang Kristu.”
Father Lumanlan said that the SVD is still trying to raise funds in order to build the Risen Christ statue. Interested donors may visit the Shrine of Risen Christ Foundation Inc.
Kuya J Pelayo IV is the president of Metro Angeles City Journalists Association, Inc. and the president of Pampanga-Tarlac Energy Press Corps. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org