Church teams probe ‘Christ’ image at market wall

CEBU -- The Parish Pastoral Council and the Commission on Liturgy and Worship are jointly investigating what some witnesses swear is an image of Jesus Christ on the wall of the Danao City Public Market.

Interviewed separately, Archbishop Jose Palma said the local church does not have an official declaration or assessment of the incident, which has caught the attention of people in the northern Cebu city.

“Our faith should go beyond the image. That is the teaching of the Church,” he added.

The archbishop, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said he has not received any report on the phenomenon, but he discussed it with some priests.

“We believe in images as representations of reality,” the archbishop told reporters Monday, his 62nd birthday. “What we should believe in are Jesus Christ and Mary.”

Bishop Emilio Bataclan said Pastoral Council president Leo Paring and the Liturgy Commission will gather testimonies and pieces of evidence, and report the results to Fr. Philip Replito, the parish priest of the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish in Danao City.

Offerings

The priest will then endorse the report to Bishop Bataclan. Apart from lighting candles and offering flowers at the wall, some people have also offered money.

Virgelio Batiquin, who is in-charge of the Danao Public Market’s operations, said they discouraged the people from offering money, but many still dropped coins and bills at the foot of the wall.

He said the owner of the stall nearest to the wall is looking after the money. Interviewed last Sunday, some vendors said “rugby boys” took some of the cash.

Batiquin said the market administration will not involve itself with the money people offer at the wall.

“Di manginlabot ang market management about money matters. Basin lainon ug sabot sa mga tawo (The market management will not involve itself with money matters. People might accuse us of something if we do so),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

Batiquin said more people went to the market Monday to see the image, which the 63-year-old husband of vendor Nasing Batulan noticed around 7 p.m. last Friday.

The vendors also noticed an image that supposedly resembles the Sto. Niño.

Selling

Bishop Bataclan said some church officials suggested letting the incident pass, without action. For now, the probe is the only official response.

“We will discuss the findings and recommendations. We will review all the testimonies gathered from the people who went to see the alleged image of Jesus Christ. After that, we will make our own conclusion. In the meantime, we have no further comment,” Bataclan said.

He said the church is dismayed by reports that some people immediately began selling “healing oil” (lana) and accepting cash donations from those who believed that it was really the image of Jesus Christ.

Bataclan said the church will inform the public about the results of the investigation, after it is reviewed.

The Danao City Council will take up in their session today, Tuesday, the reported appearance of the image on the public market wall.

City Councilor Ramonette Mahinay said the matter may possibly be referred to a committee for review.

City Councilor Jorge John Cane, on the other hand, said they were already informed about the incident, but that most of the people of Danao did not take it so seriously. (EOB/RSB/BAP of Sun.Star Cebu)

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