Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod - Home of a Saint, Shrine of the Faithful in Cebu City

Isn't it appropriate that we finally get a church built as homage for our second saint, San Pedro Calungsod? In the vast sprawl of the almost deserted South Road of Cebu City, a good 20-minute taxi ride from the city center, stands the very contemporary "church" dedicated to the first Visayan saint. We have Henry Sy's SM Prime Holdings to thank for this. Fact is, Mr. Sy is building what's allegedly touted as SM's biggest mall  just across the chapel. A spiritual scepter adorning the complex seems apropos. After all, material riches seem vacuous on empty faith.

From a distance, the building looks like stacks of white-and-cream rectangular panels standing beside each other. It looks more like an avant garde art piece, to be more precise. As you get closer, you realize that what has been built is unique and inviting. There's a huge wooden cross to welcome the faithful. The minimalist design is matched by empty spaces and sparseness of the design, that even the font sign ("Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod") looks like play sticks.

Architect Carlos Arnaiz, who's based in the United States, designed the chapel that sits on an elevated 5,001 square meter lot located within the SM Seaside Complex. It can sit (take note of the exact number) 803 people! Is the chapel privately owned, by virtue of its proximity to the mall? No, it was actually donated by Mr. Sy to the Archdiocese of Cebu.

The concept of the chapel's minimalist design is antithetically based on the city's dynamism and vibrancy. Accordingly, the chapel stands as a sanctuary of stone, stand and glass from where we can meditate on the changes happening in our chaotic world. With 100 walls of varying heights, this architectural concept spotlights the inevitable connectivity of individuals, regardless of their differences; that despite such, we stand as "a cluster, a congregation"; united we stand indeed.

The site has auxiliary spaces for baptistry, 14 stations of the cross, an adoration chapel, the sacristy, a quiet room for children (huh?), and a multi-purpose area for other church functions. The adoration chapel, located to the right of the altar, is a particularly sobering place. It's simple, yet you feel the piety of the surrounding atmosphere. I saw a nun praying inside and couldn't help but be transfixed.

Stacks of cards as inevitable connectivity of individuals.

Young Pedro Calungsod was born in 1655 in a place probably believed to be Ginatilan, Cebu. He was recruited by the Jesuits for the latter's missionary work that eventually took him to the Ladrones Island, now Guam. Calungsod worked with Spanish priest San Vitores who forbade the use of weapons despite constant dangers from the unfriendly and menacing Chamorros who continuously threatened them. Calungsod died defending San Vitores and his Catholic faith. A spear hit his chest, then his head was struck with a machete. As though that wasn't enough, he was thrown out to sea, with rocks tied on his feet.

Like other saints, San Pedro had to be able to perform a miraculous deed so he could qualify for canonization. He did so when a Leyte woman was brought back to life, two hours after she was declared dead.

When a physician prayed for Calungsod's intercession, the lady gradually regained respiration. This was fairly recent (2002). Before we're besieged by naysayers, Catholics only ask for intercession from saints. We do not pray to them, but we ask for their help so that they will be able to mediate our intentions to God.

In this spiritual season, may everyone have a blissful, reflective and pious Holy Week. Be safe with your Visita Iglesia.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

A mall is being built in front of the chapel.

Adoration Chapel

Adoration Chapel

A lake nearby. 

Schedule - Weekday masses at 6 PM. Saturday (anticipated) masses at 6 PM. Sunday masses at 9 AM and 6 PM.

Opening times (as posted at the chapel) - Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, and until 7:30 PM during mass days. (The website has a different schedule: "Shrine is open from 7 AM to 8:30 PM")

Call if you require more information or confirmation of schedules. Please DO NOT ask for more information from this blogsite. Once again, call the number listed below. - - -

Office Hours: 4:00 PM - 6:15 PM and 7:45 PM - 8:30 PM Monday to Sunday (Store and Office Only)
Contact Number: +63 (32) 255-2170

The Archdiocese of Cebu appointed Msgr. Vicente Tupas as rector of the SM Seaside’s Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod.

No comments: