HomeNewsCatholic church of Loon in Bohol province reopens after eight years

Catholic church of Loon in Bohol province reopens after eight years

"We raise up once again and build back better this temple of living God. This church shall magnify Mary and her Lord."

The Catholic church in the town of Loon in the province of Bohol has reopened this week, eight years after it was destroyed by the earthquake that hit the province on Oct. 15, 2013.

The National Museum of the Philippines, which initiated the rebuilding of the church, turned over the structure to the Diocese of Tagbilaran and the people of Loon on Tuesday, eve of the town’s fiesta.

“We raise up once again and build back better this temple of living God. This church shall magnify Mary and her Lord. And all this is the work of God. We, who love God love Mary, His handiwork,” said Bishop Alberto Uy of Tagbilaran in his message.

“Your priest and I, promise to honor the commitment of the Diocese of Tagbilaran to maintain and promote this sacred edifice as a temple worthy of our divine worship of the triune God and a true source of pride of place for all Boholano,” he added.

Jeremy Barns, director general of the National Museum of the Philippines, expressed joy over what he described as a “milestone” after “a lot of work and immense challenge.”

“The results are here for everyone to see. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped make this possible – all the government and church authorities, project teams, experts, supporters and members of the community,” he said.

Town mayor Elvi Peter Relampagos also expressed his joy at seeing the restored church. “I am happy and immensely thankful to the Lord that after nearly eight years, the prayers of our people … of seeing the church standing again has finally been fulfilled,” he said.

- Newsletter -

The Catholic parish of Loon was established by the Jesuits on June 22, 1753, under the patronage of the Our Lady of Light. It is believed that the first Jesuit church was located in the downtown area along the sea.

The town center, including the church, was later moved to the upper portion due to pirate raids. The church complex was built with defensive stone walls and armed with a cannonball in the 1770s.

When the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines in 1768, the Augustinian Recollects continued the evangelization of the town until 1898.

The church and convent were rebuilt in the 1780s. Another church was rebuilt in 1815 but was destroyed by the fire of 1850 and 1853. Another church was constructed and was finished in 1864.

The church was used as a garrison by American soldiers in 1901.

The church of Loon was declared as a “National Historical Landmark” by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and a “National Cultural Treasure” by the National Museum of the Philippines.

The entire church building and convent were reduced to rubble by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake of 2013.

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