Last month, the chapel and the sewing room of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) were turned into a cell, which will house the senior citizens and the detainees with disablities.
Now, CPDRC’s new built chapel is situated in the quadrangle, which is more spacious. They built an altar with a roof over it and provided movable tents and benches.
The first mass of the newly-built chapel happened in the morning of May 15 with the well-known healing priest from Manila, Fr. Fernando Suarez, as the presider.
After more than 2,396 inmates and the employees at the CPDRC attended the mass, the new chapel can now hold a large number of attendees.
The healing priest, who also visited the center two months ago, shared about contentment, love and hope. He encouraged the inmates to be strong and to learn to accept the consequences of their past’s actions.
“Hindi pa huli ang lahat. Wala na tayong magagawa sa nakaraan dahil nangyari na iyon sa nakaraan. Ang imporatante humingi ka ng kapatawaran sa Panginoon at patawarin mo ang mga nakasakit sa iyo (It’s not too late. Let’s leave the past because we can’t do anything about it anymore. The most important thing that we must do is to ask for forgiveness from God and to release forgiveness to the people who hurt us.),”Juarez shared.
Suarez also emphasized the importance of constant prayer and reading of the Bible.
“Kahit na nandito kayo sa loob, hinding-hindi makukuha sa inyo ang kalayaan na sumamba at magdasal sa Panginoon. Wag ninyong kalilimutan na anak tayo ng ating Ama sa Langit (Nothing can take away your freedom of praying and worshipping God. Don’t ever forget that we are children of God),” the priest added.
During the priest’s first visit last March, the healing priest prayed for the inmates who wanted to be healed from their illness. He promised to lead the mass of their new chapel and to hear some testimonies after his first healing mass.
The woman in the Bible who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years and was healed through her faith when she touched Jesus has been the inspiration of a 65-year-old detainee, Pacita Barall, a native of Camotes Island.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis and heart disease which made it impossible for her to walk around.
But after Fr. Juarez prayed for her two months ago, Barall experienced a miracle she longed for the past years. Barral was able to stand and walk all alone going up and down from her cell.
“Pag-ampo ni Fr. Suarez nako, migaan akong paminaw. Mura ug naay bugnaw nga migawas sa akong ulo unya mipuli ang kainit. Nakalakaw gyud ko paghuman ato kay mag wheelchair man ko sauna, usahay tabangan ko ug pabarog (When Fr. Suarez prayed for me, I felt the heaviness left me. It felt like a cold air went out from my body and then warmth came in me. I was able to walk after that without using my wheelchair and without the help of the other detainees),” Barall shared.
For 12 years of staying at CPDRC, Barall said that her situation has changed her life.
“Sukad ko nasulod dinhi, nakat-on ko maghinulsol ug mangayo og pasaylo. Nakapasaylo na sad ko sa mga tawo nga nakapasakit nako ug sa ako pamilya (When I came here, I have learned to repent and to ask for forgiveness. I have forgave the people who caused me and my family pain),” Barall said while wiping the tears in her eyes.
“Dinhi sa bilanggoan, dinhi nako mailhi kung kinsa si Hesus. Wala koy laing trabaho kundili magbasa og Biblia ug moapil sa mga panagtigum. Mapasalamaton gihapon ko sa Ginoo kay wala ko Niya biya-i (I came to know Jesus here. All day I read the Bible and join prayer meetings here at the center. I’m still thankful to God beyond my circumstances),” Barall continued.
Meanwhile, CPDRC Consultant Marco Toral expressed his appreciation to the priest for fulfilling his promise to return in CPDRC after his visit two months ago.
He is also thankful that Fr. Suarez has blessed their new chapel, which was formerly located at thesecond floor of CPDRC’s building.
The newly-built chapel was made possible through the P80,000-profit of CPDRC’s bakery manned by the inmates. Cris Lanie Delos Reyes / Mary Ann Tapayan (CIT-University Intern)