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Homonhon parishioners celebrate dedication of new church

Homonhon parishioners celebrate dedication of new church

The newly built St. John the Baptist Parish Church on the historic Homonhon Island. CBCPNEWS

By CBCP News

September 25, 2020

Homonhon Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar

A decades-long dream for Homonhon islanders has come to fruition.

Parishioners finally have a bigger “home” in which to participate in Mass and other liturgical services in a new church.

The St. John the Baptist Parish celebrated its new 504-square-meter church on Friday during dedication ceremonies led by Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan.

Completion of the church, which cost around P7 million, is the result of years of work by parishioners, said Fr. Christian Ofilan, the parish priest.

He said the new church is “very timely and providential” as the diocese prepares for the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.

“It is a fitting gift to the parish community as it prepares to welcome in 2021 the dawn of the quincentennial anniversary of the arrival of the Christian faith on this historic island,” Fr. Ofilan said.

Homonhon is located off Guiuan town in the southernmost part of Eastern Samar province where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first landed nearly 500 years ago.

Some theorists even claim that the first Mass may have been celebrated on the island, where Magellan and his men took a weeklong respite on March 16, 1521.

The government has earlier affirmed Limasawa, an island off the neighboring province of Southern Leyte, as the site of the “First Easter Sunday Mass” on March 31, 1521.

The priest said the construction lasted for around two years, starting with the demolition of the old church in September 2018.

He added that the new church was built mainly from the donation of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Allana, a parishioner based in Manila, and from the generosity of the locals.

“May this beautiful church be a reflection of the unwavering faith of the people of Homonhon,” he said.

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