Parish continues churchyard project despite NCCA call

SANTA RITA -- The recent "visit" of a technical inspector from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) proved futile as officials of the Santa Rita de Cascia Parish have pushed through with their churchyard project, which is now 80 percent complete.

This, as an NCCA representative had visited the project last week and asked that construction be halted until an evaluation and recommendations from the NCCA are forwarded to the parish.

However, the parish continued with the project invoking their right to implement the program, which has already been looked into by the Archdiocesan Heritage Committee. The project includes the concreting of portion of the churchyard for vehicle parking, landscaping and installation of pathways and additional park lights.

The project has been funded by contributions from the town's parishioners, which the town's priest said is a clear indication of the parishioners' support for the project.

Recent visits of Sun.Star Pampanga showed that the project is nearing completion and would undergo landscaping anytime this week. The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) of Santa Rita and Parish Priest Monsignor Abelardo 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.

The Parish Pastoral Council of Santa Rita has put a stop to the project just before Holy Week awaiting the visit from the NCCA. 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.

After meeting with the NCCA, the parish decided to push through with the project despite calls to halt construction activities.

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