MARIBOJOC, BOHOL: Emmanuel Manjares, 12, was the first to kiss the image of Our Lady of Lourdes as soon as it was lifted from the rubble of the centuries-old Holy Cross Parish in this town.
It took parishioners several hours to extricate the image from the wreckage of the parish church that crumbled after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol province last week.
Emmanuel, whose house was flattened by the temblor, helped the group of men who removed the icon from the quake debris.
The Our Lady of Lourdes image was the third to be recovered by the parishioners. The first was the 400-year-old wooden image of Saint Vincent Ferrer, patron of the Holy Cross Parish. It was unearthed along with a wooden image of Jesus Christ.
“When she was there in the rubble, her face was so sad. But after our parishioners worked together to remove her, her face appeared blissful,” Emmanuel told The Manila Times.
Roberto Valles, Museum curator of the Holy Cross Parish, said that the image of Saint Vincent was made in 1616. To celebrate the recovery of the priceless images, the people held a procession downtown. It was the only time that the town came to life since the earthquake.
People lined the streets to pay homage to God since no Mass had been said since the quake struck because the town’s parish priest, Father Warren Abarquez, was injured when he jumped out from the convent, according to Julius Quillopas, a public school teacher.
Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso on Monday said that Pope Francis commiserated with the quake victims in Bohol and Cebu.
He said that they received a telephone call from the Vatican, expressing Pope Francis’ message for the quake victims.
“The Holy Father and all the people in Rome . . . they are sending their commiseration with us and being with us in our suffering,” the bishop said.
After saying the Angelus on Sunday, the pontiff asked the world to pray for the Philippines, especially to the victims of the earthquake.
“I want to express my closeness to the people of the Philippines who have been struck by a strong earthquake, and I invite you to pray for that dear nation, which in recent days has suffered different calamities,” Francis said.
With a report from Robertzon F. Ramirez