CHURCH officials and residents of Guagua gathered for the send-off ceremonies for the first ever Kapampangan-made religious image that will be sent to a parish in Spain.
The image of Santa Maria del Sagrario (head and hands) will make its voyage to Spain this coming week in time for the Holy Week processions at the Nuestro Padre Jesús de la Verdad where the prepared body of the image awaits for fitting.
It was donated by Presidential Merit Awardee for Ecclesiastical Art Willy Layug.
The image signals the coming in full circle of the Filipino Catholic faith which received its Catholic heritage from Spain some 500 years ago.
Archbishop Florentino Lavarias and Archbishop Emeritus Paciano Aniceto put a woodblock to close the bust.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, a native of Betis, helped Layug request Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to provide the relic.
The woodblock was part of a relic that touched the original Santo Niño de Cebu image, said to have been a gift of Portuguese circumnavigator Ferdinand Magellan to Rajah Kulambo after the native chieftain's baptism into Catholicism following the first Mass in the country in 1521.
Grupo de Fieles de Nuestro Padre Jesus de la Verdad and its designer, Alvaro Fernandez, commissioned Layug for the image. Layug, however, refused payment and decided to gift the image instead to the said parish in gratitude for bringing Christianity into the islands some 500 years ago.
"This image represents 500 years of faith, hope and love," Layug said, stressing that the image will replace an older image of the Sagrario and will be processed in the ancient roads of Malaga for public veneration.