The Tinian Social Hall in San Jose, Tinian, that was destroyed during Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018 has been refurbished and was officially turned over to the Tinian San Jose Catholic Church last Sunday, Dec. 13, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres himself leading to turnover ceremony that was also attended by Bishop Ryan Jimenez of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa.
For now, the social hall will be the place where the people of Tinian will use as their temporary place of worship until the church, which was also damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu, gets a new facelift.
Kimberlyn King-Hinds, who led the ad-hoc organization that was created to lead the rebuilding effort, The Friends of San Jose, credited many people’s help for the success of the project. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it, a day that would not have been possible without every single one of you who have joined us today,” said King-Hinds. Besides holding so much history and memories, she said that the building is a representation of hope for the people in the Tinian community, a hope for better days.
King-Hinds commended Torres’ leadership throughout the whole pandemic because the Tinian community is able to celebrate the turnover in person and not through any online platforms.
Tinian’s Fr. Anthony Aguason held his final Mass in Tinian’s church last Sunday; he will now hold Masses in the newly renovated social hall, which now also has new living quarters for the priest.
“I think that by the sheer grace of God, Påli [Aguason] has not fallen through the ceiling, from the second floor, honestly, because I’ve been up there and living conditions are very poor. Påli has been literally living out of his suitcase, he can’t even fully utilize his comfort room because the infrastructure is so compromised,” said King-Hinds. “I pray that this temporary place of worship provides solace, comfort, and hope during our most difficult times. I pray that it will also be a place where we celebrate and give thanks, and grace for life›s most precious gifts.”
Jerry Tan, chief executive officer of TanHoldings, which was a key donor, credited the effort and help of the company’s charitable arm, the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, and the TSL team, who worked tirelessly on this project. He recounted that, although the foundation has already committed a lot to Saipan after Super Typhoon Yutu, he said knew he really wanted to help Tinian. He recognized TSL Foundation executive director Merlie Tolentino, who was able to find a way to donate to the Friends of San Jose Church.
“I did not expect this to be done today. I thought it would take much longer, whether it is to raise all the necessary funds, or just the construction work itself,” said Tan. “Things take time to happen, to complete, over here [Tinian]. Kimberlyn, I just want to say thank you also for giving me, our company, our foundation, the opportunity to get involved with such an important project for the people,” said Tan.
Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan said the people of Tinian will now have a safer place to worship, one that will allow them to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. “We’re very grateful for the donations and contributions from the companies and the governor›s office, and also to the people of Tinian.”
According to Teruko King of The Friends of San Jose, donations reached a total of $331,159.10. Construction and expenses to date has reached about $250,042.
Originally, King said, they budgeted $10,000 for furniture and appliances but they were able to get discounts or donations and they only spent $6,582.26.
Miscellaneous expenses, which includes utilities, bank fees, and ceremonial expenses for Sunday’s event, documentation fees, brought expenses to a total of $2,198.04. This brings them to a grand total of $259,220.92 in expenses, leaving them with a balance of $71,938.18.