Located in front of the Bacolod City Public Plaza, is the San Sebastian Cathedral. The church was founded by Bishop Mariano Cuartero in April 27, 1876. It is one of the oldest churches built here in Negros and it has endured the test of time. The baroque designed framework of the Cathedral and coral stone walls and interiors is an architectural wonder. The vestibule of the church offers a wide entrance that accommodates hundreds of people that go to mass everyday and religious advocates that flock during special religious occasions such as Lent and Christmas. Upon entering, you can feel a sense of deep serenity and spiritual enlightenment radiating from its mellow ambiance. The congregational seating includes wooden pews where worshipers can sit comfortably and pray. Its chancel contains intricately adorned chairs and tables.

At the side of the church, candles and various religious artifacts such as rosaries and novena prayer booklets are sold for religious devotees. Church goers would usually buy candles and offer their prayers to the statues of the Saints located at the side of the church and guarded by a metal gate against opportunistic thieves. The saints wear colorful and beautifully embroidered clothes. The most popular religious statue in the church is the statue of a black Virgin Mary carrying a black baby Jesus. Legend has it that when you pray to this black Mary your prayers are most likely answered. A candle is usually lit and after a prayer is said, the padlock is banged against the metal gate three times. Flowers and donations are also being offered by some people followed by the three bangs of the padlock.

One of the biggest controversies that the diocese is facing at hand is the issue regarding the implementation of the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill). The church has been firm on its stand against the bill from the very beginning. The priests conducting mass always include their vehement protest against the immorality and vile intentions of the RH Bill. They also posted a campaign poster against the politicians who voted for the implementation of the bill and named them “team patay” (Death Team) at the fa├žade of the church. They also made another poster and listed the members of the senate who voted against the bill and name them “Team Buhay” (Life Team). This made national news and has been a source of concern to the COMELEC officers that has been monitoring the progress of the May 2013 elections.

Source by Jose Martin Benares