I can clearly remember that night when Kuya Marvin and I were talking at the parish office. I was told to get a piece of paper as we were going to hold a one-on-one meeting. Next thing I knew, I was jotting down notes about a certain production plan about the exposition of the bells of Meycauayan. "Many churchgoers have never been to the belfry so let's take this chance to bring this hidden place to them," he said. I chuckled as I just rode on his trip.
I should have known that he was being totally serious about it.
Believe it or not, it was more than grueling preparing for it. Well, it didn't look exactly difficult but somehow, there was this heavy weight put on our shoulders when we committed ourselves to it. Personally speaking, I was overwhelmed with how it all turned out to be. We held shoots, editing sessions, and whatnots. We even pulled an all-nighter designing the whole venue.
And boy was it so fulfilling when it opened on September 28.
So the main focus on the exhibit are the historic bells which had been in the parish for over three centuries already. Named San Jose, San Francisco and Maria Concepcion, these bells can still be found (and are still being used to this date) at the belfry which was erected on 1800 as per the order of Fray Francisco Gascueña, OFM.
As for the belfry itself, it is considered one of the cultural treasures of Meycauayan and the rest of Bulacan. Aside from the fact that it is the belfry of one of the oldest churches in the province, it is also one of the only two remaining belfries in the Philippines which is connected to the main church building by a stone bridge.
Certainly, this piece of trivia is one reason why I am so proud to be under the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan.
However, the belfry is in no good condition anymore. Although the main edifice still stands strong, foliage are threatening its exterior. The interior is pretty much ruined too by dirt and too much vandalism. The bells are in no good conditions too, especially Maria Concepcion, one of the most beautifully-sounding bells in the province then.
It is the primary objective of La Voz de Dios to collect enough money to fund the restoration of the belfry. I took part on the whole team because I really wanted this cause to begin. I have always insisted that for people to advance, they have to look back on their history. The belfry is a huge part of Meycauayan's past and we all have the responsibility to take care of it, as parishioners.
Aside from the bells and the belfry, La Voz de Dios also featured the history of the actual church of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi. Rare pictures of the structure as it gets transformed through time were displayed for everyone to see. Culture buffs would surely enjoy looking at it, discovering new things, about a place not everybody would have thought to mean so much, history-wise.
I'm not being a suck-off or anything but I really think we at the Parish Commission on Youth and the Parish Committee on Church Cultural Heritage really did a great job on this one. I honestly believe that to draw people to faith, there has to be something shallow that would attract them to it. I know this sounds ridiculous but I remember what our Religion teacher in HS said: "Let people find something they like in one thing you want them to always do. When it becomes a habit, then you take the next step by instilling in their minds what their actual purpose for doing it should be."
In my honest opinion, the exposition of the church's history could have instilled a sense of importance towards the parishioners. I won't deny that I grew more fond of my parish when I learned how colorful its history has always been. I guess this only applies to culture buffs like I am but I think the thought has become a stepping stone for some to actually practice their faith. And hopefully when they do, it will turn into something bigger that would strengthen their Catholicism more.
It has been more than a week since we opened La Voz de Dios; and we think it was too short. That is why we decided to extend it until we think we've reached enough people. If you guys are coming to Meycauayan, I wish you would stop by the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi in Poblacion, and at least take a glimpse of the wonderful heritage and history of our humble church.
La Voz de Dios