Altar renovation in Minglanilla to push through after getting over 200 votes from flock

Minglanilla, Cebu. (Google map)
Minglanilla, Cebu. (Google map)

PARISHIONERS of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Barangay Tungkop, Minglanilla voted on Sunday, May 12, 2024, to proceed with the plan to renovate the altar, a move that has caused concern among some parishioners who believe the Risen Christ image will be removed.

During a general assembly called by the parish Sunday, 202 parishioners voted in favor of proceeding with the altar renovation, while 172 voted against it, according to Fr. William Alcalde, a parishioner and principal at the Academia de San Pedro Calungsod in the City of Naga.

Before the voting occurred, parish priest Fr. Nelson Ortizano had assured parishioners that only renovations would take place and the image of the Risen Christ would remain.

Parishioners sought certainty that the Risen Christ would not be removed from the church after a video presentation of the proposed retablo design (the ornamental structure behind the altar) showed a Crucified Christ instead.

A group of parishioners wrote a letter, dated Dec. 20, 2023, to Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, questioning the planned renovation. It asked if there was something wrong with the current setup that needed to be fixed.

In his speech Sunday, Ortizano said he was disheartened by the fake news that had circulated in the parish.

Among the fake news Ortizano encountered were claims that only children voted during a meeting on Dec. 10, 2023, for the sanctuary renovation and that the Risen Christ would be destroyed. Ortizano showed a video presentation proving adults also participated in the election.

“Ang kalahian sa renovation ug destruction, ang renovation is enhancing, dili destruction. Fake news na nga gub-on ang Risen Christ, as is na (The difference between renovation and destruction is that renovation is enhancing, not destroying. It’s fake news that the Risen Christ will be destroyed. It will remain as is),” Ortizano he said.

Palma’s authorization

Fr. Joselito Danao, District 2 episcopal vicar, was also present Sunday. He read the letter from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma dated Feb. 14, 2024, which authorized Ortizano to proceed with the renovation works.

After Danao finished reading, Alcalde stood up and acknowledged the letter. But he questioned the finality of the retablo design.

“I am grateful to Archbishop Palma for granting authorization to proceed with the project, but we have yet to approve the details of the project,” Alcalde said in Cebuano.

Alcalde pointed out that despite Ortizano’s statement that the Risen Christ would not be destroyed, the presented perspective suggested otherwise, depicting a Crucified Christ.

Alcalde said there was no opposition to proceeding with the project, but a consensus was needed on the final design. He added that it was ironic to hear the word “synodality” when there seemed to be no room for dialogue.

Ortizano described in his speech that the general assembly is part of the church’s “synodality,” which in the Catholic Church refers to the concept of journeying together as the people of God.

During the open forum, one male parishioner challenged Ortizano’s claims about fake news, saying Ortizano was not present on the day of the vote. The parishioner said their questions were based on the renovation proposal.

“Nganong nakaingon man mi nga inyong tangtangon? Kay naa man gipakita nga proposal nga inyo tangtangon (Why did we say that you will remove it? Because there’s a proposal presented that you will remove it),” he said.

He added that the parishioners were not against the parish priest, but were only asking about the details of the renovations and the system of conducting the works.

Ortizano did not react to the parishioner. / AML

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