If we build, they will come. This is a line from the movie Field of Dreams. This was the same line we used to answer detractors when we decided to build a chapel with nothing but the belief that we will receive contributions from the community’s residents and friends
It was the early-90s, and Parkwood Greens Executive Village was not as affluent a community as it is today. This was prior to the real estate boom that drove up land prices in the area. We were a small community then - mostly middle class employees at the early stages of their professional careers. Ninety eight percent of the residents are Catholics. Once a month on Sunday afternoons, a priest held masses at the clubhouse. But as subdivision population increased, the small clubhouse become a bit small for the increasing number of mass goers.
In 1996, an attempt to generate funds for a chapel was postponed to give way to another pressing project: solving the subdivision’s water supply problem by interconnecting its water lines with the MWSS. Every household had to fork out a substantial sum of money to make push through with the interconnection.
In 1998, Fr Henry Ferreras, then parish priest of the San Antonio Abad Parish of Maybunga, Pasig encouraged the residents to revive the project. He also promised that if a chapel is built within the village, he will make sure that there will be weekly Sunday masses in that chapel. The subdivision’s officers, which I then headed as President, took the challenge squarely.
In the beginning, all we had was the determination and the desire to build a chapel. The village association has no extra funds in its coffers to bankroll the project. But we were able to increase the collection efficiency of the association dues so that we had excess funds after payments of the maintenance, security and admin expenses. We used part of these savings as a seed fund for the project. We also embarked on a series of fund-raising activities: a Little Prince and Princess of Parkwood; a souvenir program; and, fund-raising dinners. During the Christmas season, we went house to house and sang christmas carols. All these activities raised funds and became opportunities to expand the support-base for the project. Those who believed in the project not only contributed cash and/or construction materials but also their own personal time campaigning for support from residents and friends outside of the village.
It was a community effort. Somebody worked on getting a written approval from the subdivision developer to allocate a vacant lot for the structure. Another resident made the engineering design. Two other residents, supervised the project. Another resident acted as foreman for the construction group. Within 5 months from the start of the construction, the chapel infrastructure was finished. The structure was blessed and the first mass within the chapel was celebrated by a guest priest — Fr Rex Arminia. Weekly masses in the still unfinished chapel started immediately after.
It took us another year to complete the finishing stages of the chapel. Another resident adept at finishing stages of a construction work took over the supervision of this meticulous phase of the project. Almost every aspect of the finishing stages of the project was sponsored by either one family or a group of families: the pews, the floor tiles, the altar, the altar’s marble floors, the ceiling, the chandeliers. the belfry, the images, the sound system. The parish priest waived the parish’s share of the Sunday mass collections in the chapel to add funds for the project.
We could not ask for anything more. We started building, and the support and the contributions came
Finally, on November 18, 2001 — then Bishop Carino of the Archdiocese of Pasig consecrated the Our Lady of Remedies as the Patroness of a fully finished chapel,
Since then, the chapel has become an integral part of the community. Aside from the weekly Sunday masses, it is also a more convenient venue for the traditional Simbang Gabi and the Lenten activities. It is also used for recollections, retreats, Easter egg hunts, and other activities of the various organizations of which some Parkwood residents are members. Occasionally, it is used for wakes of departed residents or their close relatives.
Last November 18. 2011, the village celebrated the 10th anniversary of the consecration of Our Lady of Remedies as the Patroness of the chapel. It was momentous occasion especially for those who were there when the chapel was nothing but a dream; and, who have worked to make that dream a reality. Moreover, it was an opportunity for the younger generations to understand how a structure has become a symbol of a community working together to fulfill a dream. To me, the most fulfilling part of the experience was when we got more than the majority of residents of the subdivision to take part and to take ownership of the project. I would not have trade that for one or two guys just giving me the whole sum we needed for the chapel project.
In closing., let me share with you a music video prepared to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the consecration of our chapel. (please click-through the video title below)
And another one to show the feast day’s mass and procession (please click-through the video title below).
Let me end this post with excerpts from the homily delivered by Fr. Henry Ferreras during the Holy Mass on the feast day of Our Lady Of Remedies held at the chapel last November 18, 2011.
…… Walang saysay ang ating pananampalataya kung ito ay hindi nakaugat sa isang malalim na pagmamahal.. pagmamahal sa Diyos, pagmamahal sa Inang Maria….na ipinangalan natin sa chapel na ito … Our Lady of Remedies…
Today, as we come together in this chapel let us remember that this chapel… ay bunga.. bunga ng ating pag-ibig sa Diyos, bunga ng lahat nag ating pagkakayahan sa lahat ng pagsubok sa atin… at ito ay bunga ng ating malalim na panampalataya…