Good news to all devotees of Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu! After one year and two months since the earthquake last October 15, 2013, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu will now be open to the general public starting December 24, 2014
After the last Misa de Aguinaldo today, December 24, Fr. Jonas M. Mejares, OSA, Basilica Rector, announced to the church-goers that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has given their clearance via a letter received by the Basilica Rector on December 23, 2014.
The letter detailed that the opening of the church to the public will follow the regular schedule from 5:00 am until 7:00 pm every day. Masses inside the church will however start on December 29, 2014, Monday, following the regular schedule of weekday Masses from Monday until Thursday including Saturday. Friday and Sunday Masses will still be said at the Pilgrim Center outside the Church.
The Basilica was closed to the public on the day of the earthquake in 2013 after the belfry was toppled down. Since then, it underwent durability checking and minor repairs by government safety and historical commissions in cooperation with engineering experts and the Augustinian Friars of the Basilica Minore with Frs. Jonas Mejares, OSA and Harold Rentoria, OSA. Rentoria was working closely with the said groups as he is the Chair of the Augustinian Province of Sto. Niño de Cebu’s Augustinian Cultural Heritage and also at present, a Chairman on Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts.
The church, as a National Cultural Landmark of the country, is protected in a certain extent by government laws which explains why there is a meticulous undertaking of the restoration of the belfry. As of the latest restoration processes, the belfry’s pre-restoration has already been undertaken with the recovering of other bells.
Viva pit Senyor! (Ric Anthony Reyes, OSA)