Is the Catholic church in on the disappearance of the century-old icon of San Pascual Baylon de Guinarona?
On June 13, 2010, when our GUINARONA! page on Facebook was just few days old, our message board became a hubbub of activity with the shocking news of San Pascual Baylon de Guinarona’s disappearance. As in some group ran away with our 107-year old icon.
From the progress of various accounts, the following became clear.
- The heist occurred at dawn of June 13, 2010.
- That seconds after the caper, some inside group cleaned away the crime scene, such that all traces of evidence were forever lost.
- That concurrent with the heist, the parish priest disappeared as well, surfacing in Guinarona only on the 6th day.
- That with a gated church, and with locks at that, and the San Pascual glass enclosure on the altar being locked as well, it baffles that such brazenness could occur.
Today, September 29, 2011, one year and three months have passed since our dear and historic icon of San Pascual Baylon was stolen, and what is rife is that it is now in Rome, having been given out as a gift. If true, in whose authority was it given away? Does this explain the utter silence and indifference of the Catholic church re our petition for the immediate replacement of Guinarona’s parish priest?
Guinarona in Leyte, Philippines, was created a separate parish on November 5, 1971, mainly on account of San Pascual Baylon, the miraculous saint with thousands of devotees who donate to the church. The saint was enshrined in Guinarona in 1903, and the first fiesta celebration was on May 16-17, 1904, with Don Alfonso Maray as the first hermano mayor. Through the years,Guinarona has become an important and bustling pilgrim’s mecca. With our icon’s disappearance, things will never be the same.
For one thing, we are supposed to hold a delayed centennial for San Pascual come May 9 through 17, 2012. Without the original icon, such celebration will be moot.
And what of Guinarona’s parish priest mouthing such lines as, “It’s only a piece of wood. Sincere faith is more important. Because of that, you won’t come to church anymore?” Yada yada. To him it’s only a piece of wood. To us, San Pascual’s icon is our life, the air we breathe. It is a distillate of our ancestors’ blood sweat and tears.
We call on the Catholic church to shed light on San Pascual Baylon de Guinarona’s disappearance. She should also explain why she is harboring a rogue priest such as the one in Guinarona.