By Analou De Vera
A special coffee table book detailing deep faith and the rich history of Manila Cathedral was launched Saturday.
The coffee table book entitled “Manila Cathedral: Restoring a Monument to Faith, Architecture, and History,” features never before seen archival photos and old architectural plans, focusing on the postwar rebuilding of the basilica that stretched from 1952 to 1958.
The book also details the cathedral’s restoration process done in 2012 to 2014 while another section of it “tries to unify the significance of faith and cultural heritage; of the story of the church structure and the Church as the faith story of the people.”
Fr. Reginald Malicdem, rector of the Manila Cathedral, said that the book is “significant to Catholic faithful” because the cathedral is considered as a “mother church” in the Philippines.
“Even Pope Francis himself said the Manila Cathedral is the mother church in the country, being the first cathedral in the Philippines,” said Malicdem during the sidelines of the book launch.
“For the faithful, it tells us of how Christianity grew, but also to non-Catholics and non-believers, because it’s about history, if they want to learn about the history of the country, the history of Manila tingnan nila, nasa libro [they should see the book],” he added.
Heritage conservationist Professor Gerard Lico said that the book chronicles the cathedral’s destruction during the war, its resurgence thereafter, and a narrative of its resilience.
“In this book, we want to emphasize the meticulous process of conservation– it’s a complex process na hindi dapat madaliin. At the same time, it documents the different aspect of conservation from the structural point of view, ornamentation,” he said.
The book is also a reflection of deep faith, said former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban.
“You notice that Church is made of mortar and brick but beyond being a mortar and brick, is the symbol of our deep faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. This book that we have now is a reflection of that deep faith. It’s our medium to be able to present to the whole nation and to the world this deep faith we have for our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Panganiban.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle is set to give a copy to Pope Francis when the former goes to Vatican in May for a visit, said Malicdem.
Malicdem said that 5,000 copies were printed and its proceeds will be for the maintenance of the Manila Cathedral.
The book will be available at the Manila Cathedral with a regular price of P2,500.