The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila has begun construction on an exorcism center in the Philippines, calling it the “first of its kind in Asia, if not the world.”
The Saint Michael Center for Spiritual Liberation and Exorcism, which broke ground in Makati City on May 17, will house the offices of the ecclesiastical district’s Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena, the Ministry of Exorcism and the Ministry on Visions and Phenomena.
It will also function as the official headquarters of the Philippine Association of Catholic Exorcists (PACE), which is affiliated with the International Association of Exorcists in Italy. The body operates under the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
During the recent groundbreaking ceremony, Rev. Fr. Francisco Syquia, director of the exorcism office, said the center will minister to the poorest of the poor who are “in bondage to the devil” and “usually overlooked.”
According to the office, the center was made possible with over seven years of “prayers, planning and fundraising.”
“We are grateful to you our benefactors who have until this point supported the Saint Michael Center,” the office noted on Facebook. “We hope for your continued prayers, sacrifices, skills and monetary donations. Our work of constructing the center is just beginning.”
Exorcism, a religious rite believed to drive out demons or other spiritual entities from possessed individuals, is mostly associated with the Catholic Church but is also practiced in other religions.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), exorcism is necessary “when a person needs to be protected against the power of the devil or to be withdrawn from his spiritual dominion.”
The Catholic Church only allows certain Catholic priests to perform an exorcism with the permission of a bishop. In modern times, a medical professional must first rule out any mental health issues before an exorcism is performed on an individual.
Last month, Pope Francis bestowed the title of “Venerable” to the late Cebuano Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, moving him one step closer to sainthood.
Featured Image via Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism