Sanctuary for prayer opens in Archbishop’s Palace

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita January 27,2016 - 01:17 AM

THERE is a new landmark inside the Archbishop’s Palace that commemorates Cebu’s hosting of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress.

The “Eukaristiya – Garden of Thanksgiving” is a sanctuary for prayer and reflection, where pilgrims can freely come to meditate and offer prayers.

Its main feature is a 40-meter high Cross Tower, a building that encases a cross lighted from the inside and 12 stair-landings to  represent the 12 Apostles as well as the 12 articles of the Catholic Faith.

In the garden are life-size statues depicting the Stations of the Cross as well as of Jesus Christ in Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Charles Maung Cardinal Bo, Papal Legate to the 51st IEC, blessed the garden on Monday night shortly before this was opened to the public.

The cardinal was accompanied by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Msgr. Roberto Alesna, chairman of the IEC 2016 Finance Committee-Cebu.

“I would like to congratulate His Grace Jose Palma and all the 42 brothers and sisters who have unselfishly made their offerings for the realization of this project. I’m sure this garden will be an inspiring sign of the Eucharistic principles,” Bo said in a speech following a tribute dinner attended by the project’s donors and sponsors.

He described the project as “very novel, very original, very environmental and very spiritual too.”

The sponsors of the project include the Gullas, Chiongbian, Lhuillier and Gothong families, as well as the family of former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

The Cross Tower was the offering of business tycoon Henry Sy and the Felicidad T. Sy Foundation Inc.

Stone markers, which state the different areas in the garden, also bear the names of the corresponding donors.

“We thank the many people who are involved in the creation of this Eukaristiya – Garden of Thanksgiving. We put a little name on the stone for people to pray for you. But know that more than the names on the stone, your names are written on our hearts. We are forever grateful because we know this will make the faith grow even stronger,” Palma told several sponsors and donors who attended the unveiling.

The Archdiocese traditionally builds landmarks to commemorate historic events

To mark the historic 1981 visit of Pope John Paul II, a statue of now St. John Paul II was erected inside the Archbishop’s Palace just beside the Eukaristiya.

In 2000, a San Pedro Calungsod Chapel was built to commemorate the beatification of young Pedro Calungsod who was canonized on October 21, 2012.

“Here in Cebu, we give our best. And that’s the best we can give. What you have seen. And we thought, we will celebrate this Eucharistic Congress to the best we can. But we will not only celebrate, we will also try to build a memorial, a landmark. And one landmark is this Eukaristiya – Garden of Thanksgiving,” Palma said.

He said even after the historic event, the Archdiocese wants people to still come and “reflect and relish” the faith through the Eukaristiya.

Another feature of the Eukaristiya is a pathway surrounded by a pond called Walk on Water which connects the garden and the Cross Tower. It symbolizes the Sacrament of Baptism and the biblical event of Jesus walking on water.

Prayer Intention Bells are also located beside the Cross Tower. At the back of the tower is an amphitheater for 120 people.

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