SAGADA, Mountain Province will soon have its first Catholic house of worship.

The idea of building the church came amid soaring tourism and visitors’ search for a Catholic haven on the serene mountaintop, Sagada mission rector Fr. Pablo Lumiwan said.

To address the lack of funds and resources and assist in the church’s construction, a fund-raising concert, Sagada In My Mind, was held at the Santisimo Rosario Parish last May 4.

“This is an appeal for help to build a Catholic church in Sagada [because the] less than 2,000-peso monthly income of the Catholic church in Sagada will never [cover for the establishment of the church],” said Bishop Rodolfo Beltran, apostolic vicar of Bontoc-Lagawe.

Fr. Franklin Beltran, O.P., parish priest of Santisimo Rosario, offered the UST chapel when his brother, Bishop Beltran, came looking for a venue for the concert.

“My brother requested to hold the concert here and I asked [for] the consent of the community. They said ‘yes’ because they know it is for a church,” Fr. Beltran said.

The UST Symphony Orchestra, together with the Coro de San Jacinto and the Cagayan State University Chorale Ensemble, presented a number of classical, Latin, religious, pop, and folk songs under Fr. Ranhilio Aquino as musical director.

The choirs rendered songs like “Inay” by Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J. which was produced by the Jesuit Music Ministry in 2009, “Paean of Promise” by Joseph Martin which was inspired by the Book of Genesis, and works by St. Thomas Aquinas such as “Pange lingua” and “Panis angelicus.”

Sharon Cuneta’s “Ikaw” and “Bituing Walang Ningning,” Yoyoy Villame’s “Butse Kik,” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” were also performed. The Filipino song list included “May ibon” and “Nahan.”

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Priests performed a song about life and abortion in “protest against the Reproductive Health bill.”

American Episcopalian missionaries arrived in Sagada in 1898 and have established a large Anglican community under the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

“We are grateful to them (Anglicans) for introducing Christ to the people of Sagada. They are our co-operators in the work of evangelization in the Mountain Province,” Bishop Beltran said.

The Catholic church in Sagada will be dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order. Under this title, the devotion to the Blessed Virgin centers on the brown scapular, which she is said to have given to St. Simon Stock.

“It is a church on a hill, wherein you go there to pray, to ask guidance from the Holy Spirit, and ask the intercession of Mt. Carmel,” Lumiwan said.

Jane Abeya-Claver donated to Bishop Francisco Claver, S.J., her late husband’s brother and Bishop Beltran’s predecessor, a piece of land in Nangonogan, a community in Sagada, on which the church will be built. Denise Pauline P. Purugganan

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