A heavy downpour did not stop Renaldo and Maribel Arsenal from exchanging vows in the mass wedding held yesterday at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC).
The couple expressed gratitude to the management of CPDRC for giving them the opportunity to receive God’s blessing for their union. They have been living together for 13 years.
The Arsenals were among the 11 couples who were blessed in the mass wedding. Like them, the other couples have already been living together for years. The grooms are among the 2,000 inmates sheltered in the facility.
“We wanted the couples to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony,” said CPDRC Warden Bobby Manansala.
“Kasagaran man gud diri mga nag live-in. Gibuhatan nato og paagi nga mahatagan sila sa blessing sa kaminyoon (Most inmates here have live-in partners. We looked for a way so they can receive blessings of marriage),” he said.
According to Consultant Marco Toral, the wedding preparation started in May. Missionaries of Charity Cebu took care of the required documents, such as securing the marriage certificate for the newly-weds, he said.
“Our intention is to give them (inmates) hope that they can still live a normal life even if they are here inside,” Toral explained.
Rev. Fr. Crescenciano Ubod of Archdiocese of Cebu officiated the wedding. He reminded the couples that constant connection with God sustains marital relationship.
The Arsenals who took this advice seriously said that despite their situation, they will remain strong together with God’s guidance.
“Sayon ra man basta naa lang communication, naa lang dalaw (Everything is okay as long as there’s communication and visiting days),” expressed Renaldo.