Cebu City — The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish-Recoletos has received a much-needed facelift and upgrade to distinguish it from the adjacent and more popular University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) on Magallanes Street here.
Parish priest Fr. Joseph Granada, OAR installed on the façade of the 45-year-old parish church a giant clock that is connected to a digital bell system (DBS) in lieu of the traditional church bell.
The church structure couldn’t support a more traditional bell after it endured the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Bohol and Cebu in October 2013.
“We are doing this because ever since this church was constructed in 1971, it didn’t have a bell,” Fr. Granada said in Cebuano. “Nothing calls the parishioners’ attention whenever we have Eucharistic celebrations here.”
“People even think that this church is just a big chapel for USJ-R,” he added, noting that this had discouraged people from attending masses here, choosing instead to go to nearby and more popular churches like the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
Fr. Granada said the giant clock measures 10 feet in diameter. It is perched just atop the also giant statue of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel which in itself measures 27 feet by 12 feet.
The parish priest revealed that they ordered the giant clock and DBS from a Singapore-based company which also supplied the same products to some big churches here, including the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Archdiocesan Shrine of San Roque and Our Lady of Fatima Parish.
He said the DBS sounds 30 minutes and 5 minutes before every mass respectively. It also reminds the parishioners to pray the Angelus every 6 a.m., 12 noon and 6 p.m.
It also rings for the 3 o’clock prayer and at 8 p.m. for the poor souls in purgatory.
It has 5 horns that blast sounds facing Carbon Market (Cebu’s biggest market), Brgy. Ermita, and the surrounding streets of Panganiban, Borromeo, and Balagtas.
“More or less, we can notice that the number of churchgoers is rising,” Fr. Granada said. “We have been telling our parishioners during sermons that this is your church and that we are waiting for you here.”
The parish church serves parishioners coming from portions of Brgy. Ermita, Kalubihan and Pahina Central.
Today at the Carbon Market, when the DBS sounded at noon, flower and handicrafts merchants scampered to the nearest carenderia. “Let’s go eat,” they said in Cebuano upon hearing the bell sound. “Let’s eat together with the priest.”