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August 1, 2016

From Construction To Dedication To Salvation

Today is the Feast Day of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, the patron saint of Magallanes Church or the St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori Parish in Magallanes Village.
This church burned down due to faulty wiring in 2004. The community led by Fr. Benny Tuazon rebuilt the church in a record-breaking period of only two years.

The church today stands as a shining symbol of what can be built when people come together for Christ.

This speech was delivered by Father Benny Tuazon during the dedication of the then-newly built church.


Nine years ago today, I delivered this message during the Dedication of the newly built church of St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori Parish in Magallanes Village, Makati City. The church was gutted by fire barely a month after I took over and six days after my installation.
magallanes-church

From Construction To Dedication To Salvation
August 1, 2007
Feast of St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori Parish
40th Year Of Establishment As A Parish
Solemn Blessing And Dedication

Almost three years past since I became pastor of this parish and the burning of our parish church, our community had the following learning faith experiences;

1. THE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S WILL – Immediately after the burning of our church, I addressed the community with these words; “What happened should bring us closer together. It is clear that God has allowed this to happen for a greater purpose. It made us see the meaning of life and faith deeper. This is God’s plan for us. It is a time to trust, not to doubt. A time to hope, not to despair. A time to pray, not just talk. A time for generosity and magnanimity with our time, talent and treasure. A time to be humble, not to be proud. A time to heal and not to wound. A time for God’s will to prevail and not ours. “It was not easy to accept. Yet, we trusted God. We had a lot of questions. We were confused. Our faith is being challenged. But we know that;
The will of God will never take us, Where the grace of God cannot keep us, Where the arms of God cannot support us, Where the riches of God cannot supply our needs, Where the power of God cannot endow us.
Everything happens for a purpose. We may not see the wisdom of it all now, but trust and believe in the Lord that everything is for the best.

2. GOD NEVER FORSAKES; HE SENT US OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL TO COMFORT US AND OUR PATRON ST. ALPHONSUS MARY DE LIGUORI TO GUIDE US – During the Ground-breaking ceremony, almost two years ago, I gave this message; “Gradually, we inched our way towards rebuilding our church under the perfect guidance of God. We profoundly felt the maternal love and supporting hand of Our Lady. We suddenly discovered the beauty and privilege of having a patron like St. Alphonsus, who made his presence felt by giving us constant inspiration and working for the success of all our fund-raising projects.”

Indeed, God made Himself ever-present through these able and reliable representatives. In one instance, during the “SERENADE IN MARCH….AT THE RUINS”, we felt God’s loving care. I wrote the day after; Do you remember?

“IT PROMISES TO BE A SUCCESSFUL EVENING. BUT WHEN TINY DROPS OF RAIN BEGIN TO APPEAR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ORCHESTRA’S RENDITION OF “CONSECRATION OF THE HOUSE”, DOUBT CREPT IN OUR SKIN AND WAS ENTERTAINED BY OUR MINDS. BUT OUR PRAYERS AND FAITH HELD ON. WE BELIEVED! AFTER A BRIEF AND UNINTENTIONED INTERLUDE TO WAIT FOR THE RAIN TO SUBSIDE, THE SHOW WENT ON WITH MORE ENTHUSIASM. IT WAS A FAITH-EXPERIENCE! IT WAS ANOTHER ENCHANTED EVENING! IT WAS A NIGHT TO REMEMBER!”

God, Our Lady, and St. Alphonsus made sure we will make it through the rain!

3. NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD; A MIRACLE? You know the story. More than a year after our church got burned, we decided to rebuild equipped with 23 M pesos in donations and funds raised and pure faith! As was expected, the initial fund was rapidly disbursed. While there were still some more donations coming, the expenses were coming faster. We came to a point when we have to find a way to regularly obtain the funds we need to sustain our rebuilding. Thanks to Fr. Steve Zabala and his able parishioners, Husband and wife Mario and Stella Deriquito and Babes De Quiros. They were generous enough to share with us their 848 project which is a fund raising campaign via a pledging system. Thus, our own version, 10-10-25 (To raise 25M in ten months and in ten ways) was born in July 2006, and in September 2006, we began to accept pledges. We hoped to have 25M ten months later on June 30 2007.

You know the rest of the story. We were able to meet our target and more! What was interesting was how it happened. Our community effort and faith were complimented by God’s graciousness and love. For us, they were miracles; meeting the target of raising 25M in a little more than ten months, and our being a church living our communion. Even at this moment, we continue to receive donations from everyone. Indeed, when God gives, it is much much better and greater than what we asked for! Many still could not believe it. But we made it. With God nothing is impossible!

What is left now is our response to this generosity.

4. THANKS BE TO GOD NOW AND FOREVER– Also during the Ground-breaking, I said these words with much hope and faith, “Soon, joy will be in our hearts. Soon, happiness will be on our faces. Soon, peace will be in our minds. Soon, we will have our home with God.”

The “Soon” has now become a “Now!” Now, joy is in our hearts. Now, happiness is on our faces. Now, peace is in our minds. Now we can thank God! No, not only now, but always and forever.

Our deepest gratitude extends to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and our Patron, St. Alphonsus Mary De Liguori; patron of the elderly and handicapped, aspiring lawyers, and for conversion of sinners.

Three things to remember in this Dedication:

1. Christ is always the center of our lives and our prayers.
2. All of these rites are really for our holiness.
3. We who were baptized are also being sent into the world – Just as this church building stands in the midst of other temporal buildings in the heart of this city, so we, as Christians, have to be that witness to Christ in the heart of the world. We have to be reminded of this. We must never forget that a church project is never finished. Even if we have finished the building, our mission as The People Of God continues. Sa awa at kalooban ng Diyos, ang ating pamayanan ay magpapatuloy at magiging daan tungo sa pagtatatag ng Kaharian ng Diyos dito sa lupa.

Maligayang Pista at Araw ng Pagtatalaga!

 

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