When Fr. Joel Silagpo of the 37-year-old San Antonio de Padua of Sta. Clara Church in Lamitan City, Basilan told his parishioners that he wants to sell fish to help build the church, they laughed at him thinking he was joking but after realizing he was serious, they quickly support him and lent him the capital he needed.
An old church surrounded by Muslim communities, the San Antonio de Padua of Sta. Clara badly needed repairs because the old wooden structure was already dilapidated. But with the church paying the construction workers Php20,000 a week, funds were soon running out even after they made a lot of fund-raising activities.
Fr. Silagpo got the idea of selling fish to raise funds while at the ‘Bagsakan’ one day. He immediately told the parishioners but they laughed at him.
“Gikataw-an ko nila, gi-ingnan ko – Fr? maninda ka ug isda? Dili ka maulaw? Pari man ka? (They laughed at me, they told me – Fr? you will sell fish? aren’t you ashamed? you’re a priest),” the priest recalled.
“But I told them, I can sacrifice for the church because our church is dilapidated and we need to source out funds.”
Realizing the priest was serious, they lent him Php7,000 as capital, an amount that he was able to pay up within one week of selling fish on a daily basis.
What happened next? Continue reading to find out…