Saturday, April 23, 2011

Visita Iglesia - Maundy Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hi there, 

Every year during Maundy Thursday, my family and I look forward in observance of  the "Visita Iglesia" (Spanish: Church visits).  This tradition was handed down to us by my parents and we have been doing this ever since I was a kid. Now, I am sharing this tradition with my children ever since they were born. 

The tradition of visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday is 
an ancient practice, probably originating in Rome, where early pilgrims visited the seven pilgrim churches as penance.

In the Philippines, the faithful carry out this tradition and some expand it to include fourteen churches and say the Stations of the Cross, with one station in each church.

In my family, we usually start the Visita Iglesia around 7PM and begin at the nearest church in our neighborhood. Sometimes, we go as far as the South of Metro Manila if time permits because we have to finish the target number of churches to visit until 12midnight, the time when the Blessed Sacrament is kept back to the tabernacle. 

Allow me to share with you some photos I have taken of the churches we have visited during our 2011 Visita Iglesia.  

Our first church visit: 

Nuestra Senora de Aranzazu Parish
Guitnang Bayan I, San Mateo, Rizal 1850.
Tel. No. (63) 941-1269. Fax No. (63) 941-9966. 

The rich and meaningful history of the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu dates back to the early Spanish era of 1596, when the Augustinians friars built the first settlements in the place. In the year August 29, 1659, the first parish was built under and in honor of the patron St. Matthew (San Mateo), the apostle and evangelist. But in December 6, 1696, the Jesuits came and gained control of the town. Thus, in 1705, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Juan Echazabal, started the devotion to our Lady of Aranzazu from Spain and changed the patron of the town from St. Matthew to Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu.
In 1715, the first concrete church was built but was destroyed in 1863 by a devastating earthquake. In 1887 the church was rebuilt and repaired but was again destroyed by the war of 1942 during the Japanese occupation. 

In the year 1990, the bell tower was repaired after the earthquake of July 16 of the same year. And in 1993, the whole church, including the main altar, was repaired and refurnished.

Mama Mary on the right side of the church
Only last February 2004, the Parish of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu was proclaimed as a Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Aranzazu by the Vatican, being the only church in the Philippines under the title of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu and only sister-parish of the Basilica of Aranzazu in Spain. The canonical erection of the shrine is scheduled on June this year.

The Blessed Sacrament

Our Second Church visit: 

San Jose de Ampid Parish
Ampid San Mateo

Tel Nos: 4765082
The history of the parish began with the appointment of Fr. Gerald as the priest in-charge of a chapel in Ampid 1 on July 28, 1998. The first mass was celebrated on August 19, 1998, a day after the “Lakbay Dalaw” of the Our Lady of Aranzazu Image visited Ampid.

The Decree of establishing the Quasi Parish of San Jose was issued on March 26, 1999 by Bishop Protacio Gungon, D.D. This formally separates San Jose Quasi Parish from the mother parish of Nuestra Senora de Aranzazu. 

On April 4, 1999, the reconstruction of the 256 sq. m. church began, under the supervision of Architech Peter “Jun” Fetalvero who volunteered his services. On May 12, 1999, Bishop Protacio Gungon led the formal ground breaking ceremonies and on July 10, 1999, a temporary church was built at the IPM compound owned by Jun Mercado, just across the road where the church is located; the old chapel was completely leveled down to give way to a two-storey church building for the new quasi parish. The church building was reoccupied fifteen minutes after midnight on January 1, 2000. Finishing touches were done since.

The church interior
Schedule of Services
The Blessed Sacrament

Our third church visit: 

Christ the King Parish 
Atlas St., Filinvest 2 Batasan Hills, Quezon City
Tel Nos: 9320239  

Church main entrance
Christ the King parish started as a small chapel inside the Filinvest 2 subdivision and we used to hear Sunday mass regularly in this chapel when we moved here in Quezon city almost 20 years ago. But ever since we became active in serving as lector and commentator at the St Peter's Parish along Commonwealth ave., very seldom we get the chance to visit Christ the King parish, except on occasions like this.    

The chapel has now developed remarkably as a parish under the able leadership of Father Mario Sanchez. 

The church interior
The Blessed Sacrament 

The Blessed Sacrament

Schedule of Liturgical services

Our fourth church visit:

San Antonio De Padua Parish
Batasan Hills, Quezon City

Near Petron Gas Station and Batasan Hills Elementary School
The Blessed Sacrament

The Blessed Sacrament 

Our fifth church visit: 

Sto Nino De Leyte Shrine
Commonwealth Ave., Quezon City
Fronting Diliman Preparatory School

Parking area near the church entrance

The church interior to the main altar

The Blessed Sacrament on the right side of the altar
The Blessed Sacrament

Our sixth church visit:  

San Isidro Labrador Parish
Brgy. Pasong Tamo, Tandang Sora
Quezon City 

The Church Main Altar
The Altar 
The Blessed Sacrament
Schedule of Masses and other Sacraments

Our seventh church visit:

Santuario De San Vicente De Paul 
St. Vincent Seminary Complex

221 Tandang Sora Ave., Q. C.
Tel Nos.: 4566151, 9268063 Loc 29

Looking back at the humble beginnings of the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul as an aspiration and a dream to be a shrine for the poor and the underprivileged would serve as a yardstick to measure as to where it is now today. First, it was a dream of the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers to erect a shrine in honor of their founder, St. Vincent de Paul, who loved and served the poor and who transformed and revolutionized charity-mission. It was a dream to give these beloved poor of St. Vincent a shrine that will address both their spiritual needs and material concerns.

Although it was still in the initial phase of the construction, the effort started to pay off, when in 2004, St. Vincent de Paul was recognized and proclaimed as the Patron of the Urban Poor. It was a significant event signaling that indeed the Santuario was getting the attention it intended to get. By September 18, 2005, the first ever Mass in Santuario was celebrated. With this development, Santuario also started to build its ministries to cater to the spiritual needs of the poor. For some years, the focus of the pastoral care of the people was on the celebration of creative liturgy and worship. More recently the need to address the other concerns in the development of the community has lead to the creation of other ministries which include the following: Youth, Formation and Propagation.
Left side of the church 
Right side of the church 
Main entrance to the church 

The Magnificent Altar
One of the most beautiful church I have visited so far in terms of the interior and exterior design. It's truly a remarkable architectural work of art. High ceiling, roomy interior and you can really feel the serenity of its surroundings when you're inside the church. It also provide wide open parking space for hundreds of vehicles. 
Interior left side of the church 

Main Altar

Interior right side of the church
The Blessed Sacrament

The Blessed Sacrament

The Columbary beneath the main church 

Mission Vision: 

Inspired by the life and works of St. Vincent de Paúl, we, the priests, brothers, and lay people of Santuario de San Vicente de Paúl, commit ourselves to promote devotion to our patron saint in the Asia-Pacific local church.
We envision the building of the Shrine, Columbary, and Formation Center; where pilgrims will experience a deepened spirituality, the poor can take active part in the development of the Church and society, the Vincentians can better serve the marginalized, families can find solace and pay respect to their departed loved ones, and the lay community formed to be mature Christians.
We resolve to deliver quality service by:
1. Providing a prayerful atmosphere and creative liturgies for our pilgrims,
2. Facilitating socio-economic programs in partnership with the poor,
3. Creating avenues for new forms of ministries for our Vincentian families,
4. Giving premier columbary and personalized assistance to bereaved families, and
5. Participating in the Christian formation of the laity, particularly in the neighboring communities.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, we dedicate ourselves to the realization of our aspirations.
What is Project 350? 

Project 350 is a fundraising campaign which makes an appeal to  three hundred and fifty patrons (350) and promoters to build up funds for the finishing of the interior of the Santuario de San Vicente de Paul. Patrons are expected to donate or to pledge to contribute (by installment) five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00) or more.  Promoters could look for 5 donors to contribute one thousand pesos (Php 1,000.00) each or more.You may log on to their website to know more about this project. Your kind donation for the completion of the Shrine will be returned to you more than you can ever imagine.  

Schedule of Liturgical Services
Schedule of Masses 

6:00am- Mass (Tagalog) 
7:30am- Mass (Tagalog) 
9:00am- Mass (English) 
6:00pm- Mass (Tagalog) 

By Appointments 

Confession, House blessing, Counseling, Spiritual Direction, etc.

The love of my life

Guarding the main entrance is me and my son Rustan

All in all, we were able to visit  7 churches and it's already past 12:45AM when we got home.  It was a fulfilling experience for Len, my two other children, Rustan, Kevin and myself as we look forward to another year of Visita Iglesia in 2012. 

Lord thank you for helping us be able to share on this sacrifice of Visita Iglesia. Please give us the strength to carry on in serving you in your heavenly kingdom. 
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the name above all name, and with you our Father in heaven and the Holy spirit. 

Happy Easter everyone and may God continue to bless us all forever.

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