Negros Occidental church closes after desecration

April 5, 2024 - 2:36 PM
The parish church of San Isidro Labrador in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental was “ransacked and desecrated” while Mass was being held on at around 6:30 a.m. on April 3, 2024. (San Isidro Parish-Binalbagan/Facebook)

A Catholic parish church in Negros Occidental province was temporarily closed after it was “desecrated” on Wednesday.

Bishop Louie Galbines of the Kabankalan diocese said the San Isidro Labrador Church in Binalbagan town “will remain closed for a period of time”.

He said this is to allow the repair of the damaged images and “for all of us to do penitential act in order to effect complete healing to our very hearts and minds, to our faith itself wounded by this unwarranted act”.

“I pastorally enjoin everyone to refrain from causing more pain to anyone,” Galbines said in a statement.

“We unite all our prayers and I fervently hope that we all move forward and come out stronger and more dedicated Catholics at the end of this. God is with us as He promised,” he said.

A 39-year-old man reportedly drove his tricycle into the church while a Mass was ongoing at 6:30 a.m. on April 3 and toppled several religious images including the altar’s Crucifix.

According to the bishop, the church’s tabernacle was also “disfigured.”

He said the suspect is currently in police custody “and will be made to answer [for] the crime and damages he caused.”

Galbines said the untoward incident has caused a “very painful” impact on the faith and emotions of the parishioners.

“Witnessing desecration of the sanctuary and utter disrespect to the revered images generated so much pain and suffering to the people of the parish,” he added.

“While the restoration of the broken images is urgent, the reparation of the internal injury and pain is even paramount,” he also said.