MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – A new Sto. Nino Chapel featuring a 30-foot Sto. Nino statue opened to the public with its first mass on Easter Sunday, April 17 at the Senior Citizens’ Park in Cebu City as part of the Carbon Modernization project, another landmark for Cebu.
Cebu2World (C2W) with its chair Louie Ferrer, Cebu City Government with mayor Michael Rama and the Archdiocese of Cebu with Most Reverend Archbishop Jose Palma also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) and proceeded with the formal blessings and opening the chapel for weekly masses and other religious activities including weddings.
“This is a momentous occasion as 500 years ago the first mass was held in Cebu with the Sto. Nino. He is our Bato Balani Cebu and we thanked the C2W and Cebu City for this project,” Archbishop Palma said, in his acceptance speech.
Cebu2World chair, Louie Ferrer said the Sto. Nino, 500 years since its arrival in Cebu has become the core of Catholic Cebuano identity. “Our relationship with the Senyor is very personal for us Cebuanos. You can see a likeness in almost every home. Even in Carbon, you will see the Sto. Nino in many stalls,” he added.
Ferrer said that this is a landmark that will bring together one Carbon and one Cebu in the journey of a modernized public market. C2W is a subsidiary of Filipino engineering and infrastructure developer Megawide.
“This area is close to my heart. I become emotional when I talk about the development in this area. Today, I am happy because this is being enhanced and the Sto.Nino is venerated here,” Mayor Rama said.
The Carbon Market development must continue that includes the Maritima building. This area needs to be developed, yet preserving the cultural history of the place, it is part of Cebu’s economic development, Rama added.
The Chapel, which covers some 300-sqm is inspired by both the shape of the Sto. Nino’s crown and the fluid motion of the Sinulog dance. The chapel can accommodate at least 150 parishioners, while the space leading to the Park also serve as an extension of the Chapel’s main seating area.
According to Ferrer, the surrounding Senior Citizens’ Park has a 3,704-sqm serene landscape for devotees and guests to stroll or to meditate. Chapel and park-goers also have a good view of the waterfront and the majestic Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. There are also food outlets and well-maintained public toilets.
“There is no symbol of faith more evocative in Cebu than the Santo Niño, similar to how Carbon has represented Cebu like no other. Our devotion to the Child Jesus has grounded the aspirations of the Carbon community itself, and it is an honor to have built a new place to worship him and bring this faith to the world,” Ferrer stated.
The MOA signing and blessings of the chapel on Easter Sunday was attended by members of the Carbon community, some local government officials and employees, Cebu2World officials and guests.
Cebu2World Development, Inc. (C2W) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of engineering and infrastructure innovator Megawide Construction Corporation that is undertaking the Modernization of the Carbon District Project under a joint-venture agreement with the City Government of Cebu.
The modernization project includes the development of the Carbon district into an economic and heritage destination and the improvement of its overall security, sanitation and infrastructure.