Loading the player ...

The Cathedral of San Sebastian in the Philippines (In Tagalog)

Today’s The World Around Us will be presented in Tagalog and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Thai.

Greetings, faithful viewers, and welcome to The World Around Us. Journey with us today to the beautiful Philippines, home to more than 90 million people. Of these citizens, about 76 million are Roman Catholic. In fact, the Philippines is the third largest Catholic country in the word after Brazil and Mexico. There are countless cathedrals and churches across the islands.

Today, we will visit one of the country’s old houses of worship, the Cathedral of San Sebastian in the City of Bacolod, known as the City of Smiles. It is the largest church in the central province of Negros Occidental. We were honored to speak with the cathedral’s director, Father Felix P. Paskin.

Our viewers of Supreme Master Television, I am Father Felix P. Paskin. I am Director of the San Sebastian Cathedral, in the city of Bacolod in the Philippines. I am here assigned by my bishop, Bishop Vincent M. Navarra, in this old Cathedral of San Sebastian, the seat of the Diocese of Bacolod. Saint Sebastian was a Roman soldier. He was a soldier during the time when there was a strong Paganism in Rome.

But then, at heart, he was a Christian. And then there were those who were imprisoned because of their faith in Jesus Christ. And Saint Sebastian, being a soldier, was close to those prisoners. And what he did was to encourage them to remain steadfast in their faith until he was eventually discovered by the emperor that he was a Christian himself.

And he was arrested and he was put to death. And he died for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a martyr. The presence of San Sebastian as our patron saint is an inspiration for us to remain steadfast in our faith. His presence is intended to strengthen us in our faith, especially to live for Jesus Christ and even to die for Jesus Christ.

The San Sebastian Cathedral is the first stone building in the island of Negros. It was started to be constructed in 1876. And the priest responsible for the construction of this cathedral was a Recolleto missionary, a Spaniard, by the name of Father Mauricio Ferrero.

And very significantly, Father Ferrero stayed here as the Parish Priest of Bacolod. And he was the one who laid out the plan for the town for the City of Bacolod, where the streets are to be constructed, where the market is to be placed, where the highways are to be done, where the schools are to be located.

He was an urban planner, Father Ferrero. And in recognition of what he did, last year, the city council of Bacolod passed a resolution which was signed by the Mayor into an ordinance, naming a street here in Bacolod after Father Mauricio Ferrero, in grateful recognition of what he did which was first of all to construct this cathedral.

The cathedral was the center around which the City of Bacolod was built. It was designed in the Romanesque style, characterized by semi-circular arches, decorative arches held by columns, and two large towers. Inside is a statue of Jesus Christ with a gentle expression. At the main altar of the cathedral is a life-like statue of Saint Sebastian. It is one of the newer additions to the edifice, an ancient church which continually had new features contributed over the decades. But the main Romanesque architectural style remains.

Romanesque combined with Baroque style. But it is a combination, it is a mix, no? And then we want to show you the interiors of the Cathedral, the altar, and the Cathedral of the Bishop are new. We had them made for the Diamond Jubilee in the year 2008. So this is the interior of our cathedral. And then we hope that you will be able to appreciate the art and the architecture, also the exterior of the cathedral.

Below the tower is a restored baptistery. That is where children were baptized in the olden times. Now, during the modern times, we baptize the children near the altar. But then the proper place for baptism is in a place near the entrance of the church. Because baptism is a sacrament of initiation. The child is initiated into the family of the church. So he is accepted at a place near the entrance of the cathedral. So you can see there the restored Baptistery.

We have here at the side walls of the cathedral, stained glass. Now we are planning to have it repaired. So that these stained glass art are depicting the different mysteries of the Holy Rosary. This is the picture of the Pope John Paul II tower. It is the highest edifice in the city of Bacolod and the island of Negros Occidental.

This was inaugurated last 18th of February, 2010. And the one who came to bless this John Paul II Tower Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, as invited by Bishop Vincent M. Navarra. This is a building that was wholly funded by only one person, Atty. Simplicio Palanca. He owns the reclamation area.

I visited him one day in 2008 to remind him that the Pope visited here in 1981 and we need to have a marker. So he said, “Yes.” And though his plan was beyond our expectation, he built this tower, and he donated it to the Diocese of Bacolod.

And we have here the mannequin of Pope John Paul II and it is wearing an alb or a vestment that came from Krakow in Poland. Bishop Navarra wrote the Archbishop Cardinal of Poland to tell him of this project and Bishop Navarra asked for personal effects or memorabilia of John Paul II.

And the Cardinal Archbishop of Poland sent this al, something personal to the late John Paul II.

Father Felix conducts masses regularly to a large congregation of Philippine people. Young and old, they come to strengthen their faith in God.

It is the mother church in the Diocese of Bacolod. And you can see people flocking here, Sunday after Sunday. It is overflowing with people. And then you can see fervently praying to God through the intercession of Saint Sebastian. And we can see that this is a place where people come to pray.

For some, it is to have a peace of mind knowing that they are in the hands of God, that the Lord will not abandon them. For others, they have come here because of their problems, emotional problems, relational problems, financial problems. But they find solace in coming to the cathedral to pray and to attend the Mass.

And then, this place is also the center of many other social activities where we educate the people as to the human dignity, as to their rights. And above all, we tell the people of who they are as children of God.

We celebrate the Feast of San Sebastian on January 20 every year, because according to the records, that is the day that he died. So we celebrate that year every January 20. And before the actual feast on January 20, there are nine days preceding it where we have the traditional novenario (nine-day vigil) in honor of San Sebastian. And usually what we do here is, we invite different priests in the entire Diocese of Bacolod to be the main celebrants during these nine days.

Aside from the traditional liturgical activities that we have, we have also other social activities which are usually done during fiestas here in the Philippines. In the year 2008, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Diocese of Bacolod. We call it the Diamond Anniversary. And then what we did was, to repair, to renovate, to repaint the cathedral in order for the cathedral to be ready for that big event, the Diamond Jubilee of the Diocese of Bacolod, which we celebrated in October of 2008.

And we have a special guest of the Papal Nuncio of the Philippines, His Grace Edward Joseph Adams. He is the representative of the Holy Father who came over for that historic event in the life of the Diocese of Bacolod.

The Cathedral of San Sebastian is a refuge to the Philippine people and a symbol of their great faith that pervades their everyday lives.

Good Morning. In the Philippines setting, if we have a new car like here, our Provincial Tourism Office just had a new car. So we usually have it blessed, either by a priest or a pastor. So know we have here Father Felix Paskin of San Sebastian Cathedral. So we ask him to bless the car before we use it and go around the province which we will do.

To conclude today’s program, Father Felix kindly conveyed a message to Supreme Master Television’s viewers around the world.

To our viewers of Supreme Master Television, our message is God loves you. Always be convinced of that. Have faith in God. Strengthen your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is with us. Do not be afraid. God love you, God bless you all.

We thank gracious Father Felix for your loving introduction to the Cathedral of San Sebastian, and for your dedication to assisting the spiritual growth of your people. May God bless this special cathedral and her many faithful, as well as all the virtuous people of the Philippines.

Thank you for joining us on The World Around Us. Coming up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News, here on Supreme Master Television. May Heaven’s love and light renew your spirit.

International Sites