On 26 March 08, an 8 hour fire gutted the more than a century old kumbento (parish house) and church of Oslob in Cebu. What was left were the thick stone walls and belfry as well as an icon of the parish patron.
I was in Oslob over the weekend to check on the progress of the reconstruction of the burned church of Oslob and was happy to find that it now has a roof so that masses can again be said at this old structure. While this is a commendable development, there is still much to be done. I asked Jun Tumulak, a member of the Parish Pastoral Council and he said that the total cost needed in bringing it back to a functional church complete with it’s flooring paved and tiled, pews, windows, painting, etc. is about P35 million. The roof alone cost P7 million and so far, the parish has paid around P4 million from donations with the remaining P3 million to be paid on a staggered basis. And that’s just one fifth of the total expenses.
To raise funds, the antique icon of the Inmaculada Concepcion (Immaculate Concepcion) has been visiting the different parishes within Cebu for pledges and donations while a second mass collection is undertaken within the diocese. As of now, this can be found at the left side of the church near the transept where believers can venerate and offer donations.
While the roof is almost finished with the pyramidal dome reconstructed, the rest of the interior remains unaddressed. Walls still need to be painted; the entire set of the stations of the cross might need to be replaced as it has been badly damaged with the fire; parishioners need to carry their own chairs or stand during masses as pews are not available. The windows are bare and open and the retablo mayor has to be repaired as well. The flooring for now has a layer of cement and will be tiled once the budget will be available.
And what about the old kumbento? As of now, reconstructing it is not a priority due to the huge amount that will be needed. If they are having difficulties raising money for the church, how much more with the old parish house? As of now, he priest is using one of the buildings of the St. Mary’s Academy located at the back of the church that serves as his quarters and parish office just beside the camarin. As the academy has just relocated to it’s new structure, the compound which is owned by the parish might be used as the kumbento for good.
Donations are very much welcome. For those kind souls, you can send in your check payable and addressed to:
Immaculate Conception Parish
You can also contact the parish office at +63 32 4819229.