DARAGA, Albay, Feb. 1 (PNA) -– “One who does not know how to look back from where he came cannot reach his destination.”
This was the opening message of Most Rev. Bishop Joel Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi in his sermon during the Mass that marked the opening of the Cagsawa Dos Siglos, which coincides with the start of the annual Cagsawa Festival held at the Cagsawa Ruins here.
“It is important that we remember and thank our forefathers who gave their lives when the Mayon Volcano erupted 200 years ago,” Baylon said in the sermon he delivered in mixed Filipino, Bicolano and English.
He was referring to the worst Mayon eruption that occurred on Feb. 1, 1814, which expelled a huge volume of superheated volcanic materials that covered the former settlements of Budiao and Cagsawa.
Thousands of people were estimated to have died, including the 1,200 who sought shelter inside Cagsawa church and were buried alive.
Subsequent eruptions further covered the church until only the bell tower remained above ground.
Baylon said the place is now a center of tourism and contributes a lot to the economy of the province.
The bishop said what happened in 1814 will always serve as an inspiration to every Albayano.
“We will overcome any calamity or test that comes to our family and province, like natural ones,” he said.
Baylon said he had served Masbate for 11 years before he was assigned in Albay as bishop and he has undergone many tests in life.
He cited as an example of test during the sea travel of Jesus and His disciples when in the middle of their voyage, there was a strong typhoon.
The prelate also mentioned the greed of David who at the end became remorseful and asked forgiveness from God.
“There are many storms in our life. Sometimes, there are troubles in the family like greed and infidelity but what is important is we accept our mistakes and correct them,” Baylon said.
He stressed that it is important to trust God as one can overcome any test that comes into one's life.
“Let us hold on tight to and wholeheartedly believe in His guarantee to every one of us that He will not abandon us anytime,” the Church official said, adding, “God is with us until the end of time."
In conclusion, he urged everybody to be steadfast amid the tests in life.
“Let’s do our work and responsibility, whatever our place in the society is. Let’s correct our wrong ways because we still have many things to do. All we need is to be together as one in forging ahead under the guidance of our Great Creator – like what our forefathers did,” Baylon asked Albayanos. (PNA) SCS/FGS/NIM/CBD/RSM