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San Pedro Calungsod Chapel
With the recent canonization of San Pedro Calungsod, Cebu has been getting a lot of attention. In addition to joining novenas and procession, devotees from around the globe are visiting chapels and structures dedicated to the first saint from the Visayas.
Apart from the Archdiocesan Shrine of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, which is located at the Archbishop’s Residence Compound on D. Jakosalem Street, Cebu City, the Templete de Pedro located at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu and the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod in the SM Seaside Complex are popular destinations.
The Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod was donated by Henry Sy, Sr. and Felicidad Sy to the Archdiocese of Cebu. It was dedicated last November 29, a day prior to the National Thanksgiving Mass. The consecration was celebrated by Most Rev. Jose Palma, DD, Archbishop of Cebu, with His Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Archbishop-Emeritus of Cebu, and other bishops.
The Chapel was initially intended to be dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, but was changed following Calungsod’s canonization last October 21. Brad Burchards of y101 FM cites Fr. Brian Brigoli in his article entitled “San Pedro Calungsod Chapel” that top Cebu archdiocese officials suggested to SM to change their original plans for the church following the Vatican’s announcement of Pedro Calungsod’s scheduled canonization. Pope Benedict XVI canonized the second Filipino saint along with six other exemplary Catholics at the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City, Rome.
Architect Carlos Arnaiz designed the Chapel, which sits on an elevated portion of the SM Seaside Complex. It occupies approximately 5,000 square meters and the structure can accommodate as many as 800 people. According to an article on The Philippine Star dated December 22, Architect Arnaiz intends to pay homage to “Cebu’s dynamic spirit” with his contemporary design.
According to a Cebu Daily News report, Architect Arnaiz describes the chapel’s design as similar to that of a forest, wherein it “appears to be a puzzling structure that has risen from the ground almost without explanation but on closer study, reveals an organized system.”
What makes the chapel unique is that it boasts of 100 walls, each standing at different heights and with varying widths. The walls face one direction so that when viewed on one side it appears solid and yet transparent on the other side. Incidentally, the church pews are spaced such that they follow the same grid as the walls.
Within these walls are gaps, which contain a baptistery, an adoration chapel, a number of prayer niches, and the fourteen (14) Stations of the Cross. A multi-purpose area dedicated for various church functions is located below the Chapel.
When one enters the chapel, you will see three sacred images at the main altar. These are a life-sized image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an image of St. Joseph, who is the patron of the Universal Church, and the image of a crucified Jesus Christ. A replica of the statue of San Pedro Calungsod can be found at the Chapel, but the official pilgrim image is at the Shrine of San Pedro Calungsod.
Archdiocesan Catechetical Center Director Msgr. Vicente Tupas has been appointed by the Archdiocese of Cebu as official rector of the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod.