Sta. Rita parish priest orders resumption of churchyard project

SANTA RITA -- Santa Rita de Cascia Parish Priest Msgr. Abelardo Basilio has ordered the resumption of the churchyard project here that was put on hold after the request of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) after representatives from the latter have been invited to visit the project this Sunday.

This came after members of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and Basilio met with the NCCA in Manila. Basilio has ordered the resumption of the project after NCCA failed to show any concrete complaints lodged against the project.

Basilio said that the project is aimed at improving the church patio and make it functional and safe for parishioners.

The Parish Pastoral Council of Santa Rita has put a stop to the project just before Holy Week. The NCCA said that the church is an Important Cultural Property according to section 5(1) of Republic Act 100066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

The PPC of Santa Rita and Basilio initiated the project since February and was visited by Archbishop Florentino Lavarias twice.

The PPC also met in a conference with Auxiliary Bishop Pablo David to discuss the said project and incorporate suggestions from the Archdiocese's own heritage committee.

A priest privy to the discussions said that the belated letter of the NCCA is yet another political move against the town's parish priest. Basilio has been the subject of criticism on a Facebook account put up by his critics.

However, support for Basilio remains high as evidenced by the growing church donations for ongoing projects in the parish. Basilio and the members of the PPC are set to tour the NCCA representatives on the project this Sunday.

The project on the other hand, is nearing completion with only 30 percent of the project still on the works. Information gathered by Sun.Star Pampanga reveal that concreting projects on the said churchyard were first implemented under the stint of former parish priest Monsignor Eugene Reyes.

Reyes also initiated the gravel paving of the patio which earned complaints from old parishioners and vehicle owners who pointed out that the gravel may cause accidents and damage to vehicles as well as carrozas used during processions. The gravel had been removed as part of the current project.

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