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Reopening of Manila Cathedral moved to Holy Week

MANILA, March 7, 2014— For the third attempt, the Manila Cathedral is set to reopen its doors in time for the Holy Week next month, a church official said.

Monsignor Nestor Cerbo, its rector, said the target is to reopen the cathedral for the churchgoers starting on Palm Sunday, April 13 after two years of repair.

“As much as possible, we want it opened by Holy Week,” Cerbo said.

He, however, clarified that it remains indefinite as the project manager for the repair and restoration project is yet to make an assessment.

“Right now, I can’t tell you (anything definite) because the project manager is still assessing and they are asking me for another week so they could tell me if it is possible to open by the Holy Week,” said Cerbo.

Last year, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said that earlier plan was to reopen the prime basilica of the Philippines by December.

There was another plan to reopen it by March 25 but Cerbo said that there were still some damaged parts found recently.

“We cannot open it until everything has been fixed already,” Cerbo said.

According to him, the restoration work on the cathedral will continue, but the plan is to reopen the cathedral next month.

“For the first phase, we really planned on fixing the interior first and then open. For the outside part, we can still do the repair even while the church is opened,” said Cerbo.

The Manila Cathedral, known formally as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, was closed in February 2012 after questions of its structural integrity.

Cerbo said they have already spent P120 million for the renovation work on the 54-year old structure.

Since the renovation started, the cathedral had been closed to Masses, baptisms, weddings and other services.

The Manila Cathedral was originally built in 1581 but has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to fire, earthquakes, typhoons and bombings in World War II. (CBCPNews)