Faith and Spirituality

Dumaguete Cathedral unveils newly-renovated altar

Robbin M. Dagle

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Dumaguete Cathedral unveils newly-renovated altar

UNVEILED. The Diocese of Dumaguete bared the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral's newly-renovated sanctuary on Friday, November 24, the eve of the Feast of the city's patron saint.

Bishop Julito Cortes official Facebook page

The cathedral sanctuary’s renovation is just the first phase of major restoration works planned for Negros Island's oldest stone church

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – Dumaguete Cathedral, one of the city’s most famous landmarks, just got a major upgrade in time for its fiesta on Saturday, November 25.

Hidden from the public since October 2023, the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral’s newly-renovated sanctuary was unveiled to the faithful in a ritual tracing back to Christianity’s earliest years.

Bishop Julito Cortes led the solemn rite of rededication of the altar and the church on Friday, November 24, the eve of the Feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Dumaguete’s patron saint.

On November 25, the diocese opened its fiesta with a dawn procession.

The cathedral church, located at the heart of Dumaguete, houses the literal seat or cathedra of the bishop of Dumaguete, whose diocese covers 1.3 million Catholics in most of Negros Oriental and the whole of Siquijor.

DAWN RITE. The Diocese of Dumaguete’ Catholic faithful attend a 5 a.m. fiesta procession on November 25, 2023 in honor of the city’s patron saint, Catherine of Alexandria. Dumaguete Cathedral official Facebook page

In his homily, Cortes recalled the church’s nearly 250-year history. Spanish priest Jose Fernandez de Septien led the construction of the church beginning in 1754 until its completion in 1776. It is now considered as oldest stone church in Negros island.

The church was razed by a fire in 1846, and was rebuilt in 1885. Another fire destroyed the church in 1953, and was restored in 1957.

Ni-agi kining mga katalagman apan salamat sa Diyos, ania pa gihapon nagbarog aron pagsilbi sa katawhan sa Diyos dinhi (It went through many disasters, but thanks be to God, it remains standing today to serve the people of God),” Cortes said.

The sanctuary’s renovation is just the first phase of major restoration works planned for the cathedral. 

Monsignor Julius Perpetuo Heruela, chair of the diocese’s church cultural heritage commission, told the Philippine News Agency in July 2023 that the church would need “interior and exterior retrofitting for conservation purposes and public safety.” – Rappler.com

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