Talk about carving a niche.Â This is what a handful of local sculptors have done in creating a new wooden retablo adorned with exquisite carvings and blessed on May 2, 2016, two days before the townÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â celebrated its annual fiesta this year.
Day in and day out,Â the craftsmen have carefully and patiently chipped,Â chiseled and carved on shapeless wood transforming the blocks to create a monumental masterpiece that generations of Alburanons will take pride of, for many years to come.
Their perseverance brings to mind the life of the townâ€™s patron, Saint Monica, an exemplary mother and wife who, day in and day out, endured lifeâ€™s tribulations without giving up on her faith in God and the hope that one day, her spouse and her son would convert to Christianity.
Saint Monica is the patron saint for mothers and wives. If there are mothers who suffer from children going astray or wives whose husbands are disloyal and abusive, sheâ€™s the one to turn to for intercession.
She was married to a pagan official known for his short temper and said to be living an immoral life. For years, she prayed for her husband and mother-in-law who disliked her.
The couple had three children: St. Augustine, Navigius and Perpetua and it was a source of great pain that her husband would not permit their children to be baptized. She was especially anxious of Augustine, who lived with a young woman who bore him an illegitimate son. Finally, her constant prayers had the effect of converting her husband to Christ before his death. Her son, St. Augustine, was not only a wonderful Bishop, but later became one of the greatest saints and doctors of the Catholic Church; hence, a happy culminating point of a mother’s prayers being answered.
â€œThis is a tribute to all mothers who continue to draw strength and inspiration from Santa Monica, our patroness, a special gift to the people of Albur. I pray that Alburanons will help find ways to keep,Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â protect and treasure this gift with responsibility,â€ said Fr. Val Pinlac, STL, director of the Bohol Rehabilitation & Rebuilding Program or BRRP.
The BRRP is an initiative under the Pastoral Program of the Diocese of Tagbilaran with funding assistance from Conferenza Episcopale Italiana, which aims to rebuild lives and homes, strengthen values and address social problems affecting the Boholanos especially after the 2013 earthquake.
To concretize rebuilding, BRRP is implementing components on house building, repairs and reconstruction of classrooms, and construction of evacuation and community centers.
His Excellency Leonardo Y. Medroso, D.D., Bishop of Tagbilaran, led the blessing of the retablo and the inauguration of the Santa Monica Community Center on May 2 after a Holy Mass at 4:30 a.m. Architect German Torero, dean of the College of Architecture and Fine Arts of the University of Bohol made a presentation of the center while Bishop Medroso, Fr. Val Pinlac, Albur Parish Priest Andy Ayco, Diacono Umberto Silenzi from Italy and head carver Aurelio Lagura Jr. delivered messages to the faithful gathered at the church. (Sonieta Labasan, lifestylebohol, May 7, 2016)