First Catholic church to rise in Sagada

Sagada in the Mountain Province has its hanging coffins, the famous Sumaguing caves, and its own home-made yoghurt.

What it doesn't have is its own Catholic church. But that will soon change with the construction of the first Catholic church in the mountain town this year.

Sagada has been predominantly Episcopalian-Anglican ever since missionaries were sent there in 1907.

“This explains why until now we still have no Catholic Church in the town proper for our Catholic tourist to visit or attend Masses,” Fr. Pablo Lumiwan, Sagada Mission Rector was quoted as saying in a post in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines website.

Catholics in the town have had to travel to Kilong village half an hour away to pray and hear mass. They will no longer have to go far once the church is built.

"The church will also provide a devotional destination for Catholic tourists who are looking for a church nearby where they can pray or celebrate the Eucharist," the priest said. Aside from the church, the Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe will also build a shrine to "expand the Catholic presence in Sagada."

The vicariate, which has jurisdiction over Sagada's Catholics, actually broke ground for the church in 2009. They could not build it then because they lacked funds.

To help pay for construction of the church, there will be a fund-raising concert at the University of Santo Tomas on May 4.

Among the performers at the concert are the choir of Coro San Jacinto, the Cagayan State University Ensemble, and the UST Symphony Orchestra.

"The concert aims to raise the awareness and generosity of the faithful in supporting our Vicariate to achieve the dream of establishing our own church in such a beautiful town," Lumiwan said.

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