Visita Iglesia 2019: Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Chinese Parish Church (Binondo, Manila)

Visita Iglesia: Binondo Chinese Parish Church

The only church that comes to mind of many whenever “Binondo Church” is mentioned is the majestic church at the west end of Ongpin Street. This is not surprising since this church, officially known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, is the biggest historical landmark in the area. But there is another parish church standing at the back of the big  church, seemingly hidden, and tucked away from the eyes of many. The nondescript church, occupying the first floor of San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy, is the Binondo Chinese Parish Church.

Binondo Chinese Mission Parish Church

The bigger Binondo Church was established by the Order of Preachers or Dominicans in 1596. Since then, the  care of the parish changed hands between the Dominican friars and the secular priests of Archdiocese of Manila. Binondo Church is currently under the administration of Archdiocese of Manila.

Binondo Church was finally transferred to the care of the secular priests of Archdiocese of Manila in 1898 and became a “Filipino Church”. The result of this move is the destruction of Chinese heritage of that church, particularly the removal of tombstone of dead Chinese Catholics in and around the church. Only few of such tombstones remained and now serve as flooring at the entrance of Binondo Church.

Binondo Chinese Parish Church or Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church

Despite the transfer of Binondo Church to the secular priests, the Dominicans still ministered the Chinese and Chinese mestizos of Binondo. In fact, Binondo is still fall under Dominicans’ Province of Our Lady of the Rosary until today.

I cannot find any online record of the establishment of a separate parish for the Chinese in Binondo. The dearth of church records is possibly due to the destruction of Binondo Church during the Second World War. However, the seal of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Binondo Chinese Parish Church indicates the year 1923, which may well be the establishment of the parish for the Chinese and Chinese mestizo living in Manila.

Binondo Chinese Parish Church seal
(Source: Facebook)

Binondo Church and convent were heavily destroyed during the aerial bombardment by the Americans during the liberation of Manila. Only a part of the facade and the bell tower remained standing.

Fortunately, Catholics of Binondo were blessed to have Father Antonio Garcia, who never ceased in caring for his flock. He celebrated daily masses and heard confessions in the house of Mr. Jose Co-Ching-Yan. His heroic effort was felt by his parishioners who flocked to him and felt the presence of God during the difficult time during and after the war.


Father Garcia approached Msgr. O’Doherty, the Archbishop of Manila, and asked for help in the restoration of the Binondo Chinese Parish. His request was granted in April 27, 1945 when a 700-meter parcel of land was given to him for the construction of a chapel that is exclusive for Chinese Catholics. Construction was quick because it was inaugurated six months later. I bet that the parishioners willingly and cheerfully provided materials and labor for their chapel. 

Father Garcia was not content with having a chapel because he also wanted to establish a school for his parishioners. His dream came true through the help of his parishioners. The school that they built, which was named Crusaders Academy, was inaugurated by Apostolic Nuncio in July 14, 1946 and officially founded on October 17, 1946. The school was later renamed as San Lorenzo Ruiz Academy to honor the Filipino-Chinese martyr who became the first canonized saint from the Philippines. 

Lorenzo Ruiz Academy in Binondo, Manila

I rarely enter the Binondo Chinese Parish Church because it is closed most of the time. However, during one time when I entered the church I was blessed to see Mama Mary's relic, which is said to be a portion of her clothes.

Altar of Binondo Chinese Parish Church

The altar of this church is quite simple. It just have a big image of the crucified Christ and the tabernacle below it.

Inside Binondo Chinese Parish Church

Very few enter this church. I guess it is the result of its exclusivity. In the morning masses that I attended, I can count the attendees on the fingers of my hands. However, based on the parish’s Facebook page, the community is alive during special event like the recent procession last Palm Sunday. 

Inside Binondo Chinese Parish Church

The Binondo Chinese Church is dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary because of the Dominicans’ deep connection with the Virgin Mary through praying the rosary. It is believed that Saint Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, received the rosary from Mama Mary herself.

Inside the Binondo Chinese Church is a big statue depicting the scene where Saint Dominic received the rosary from Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. It was Lent during my last visit and images of the saints were covered so I was not able to take good photo of the image. Good thing that there good images of it in Binondo Chinese Church Facebook page.

Image of St. Dominic receiving the Rosary from Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Binondo Chinese Parish Church)
(Source: Binondo Chinese Church FB page)

For those who wish to visit Binondo Chinese Parish Church, here is the schedule of Mass and other services:

Binondo Chinese Parish Church mass schedule

Holy Mass

Monday to Friday - 7:00 AM (English) and 6:00 PM (English)
Wednesday - 6:00 PM (Mass and Holy Hour)
First Friday - 6:00 PM (Mass and Novena)
Sunday - 7:00 AM (Mandarin), 8:00 AM (English), 9:00 AM (English), 6:00 PM (English)

Baptism

Regular - Sunday at 11:00 AM
Special - By appointment

Wedding - By appointment

Confessions

Daily at 5:45 PM

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Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

Queen of the most holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, manifest thy power with the signs of thine ancient victories, and from thy throne, whence thou dost dispense pardon and graces, mercifully regard the Church of thy Son, His Vicar on earth, and every order of clergy and laity, who are sore oppressed in the mighty conflict. Do thou, who art the powerful vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mercy, even though the hour of God's justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men. For me who am the least of men, kneeling before thee in supplication, do thou obtain the grace I need to live righteously upon earth and to reign among the just in heaven, the while in company with all faithful Christians throughout the world, I salute thee and acclaim thee as Queen of the most holy Rosary.

Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us!

Amen.

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Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.

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Churches that I featured for Visita Iglesia 2019


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History of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary at Provincia Dominae Nostrae de Rosario website
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Visita Iglesia 2019: Our Lady of the Abandoned Church of Marikina City

Visita Iglesia: Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina City

Marikina is my favorite Metro Manila City because of its cleanliness and the discipline of its citizens. Compared with other Metro Manila cities, Marikina's streets are litter-free, its public market is clean and organized, and its government provide the best sanitation services. I placed this city in high regard that I considered moving. Alas! Real property in Marikina is very expensive and, therefore, beyond my financial capacity.

Another thing that I like is the effort of Marikina City government to preserve heritage structures. They even have a programs to promote heritage in the city like this Heritage Mapping Project that involved school teachers in the city. One of the heritage structure that Marikeños are proud of is their main parish church: Santuario y Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, popularly known as Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned. Tagalogs call this church as Dambana ng Ina ng mga Walang Mag-Ampon.

Dambana ng Ina ng mga Walang Mag-ampon or Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

We visited this church after our morning walk along the Marikina Riverbanks. My jaw dropped the moment I saw the stone structure of this church.

Statues of Jesus' apostles at Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

I am always overjoyed whenever I see old churches like this church in Marikina. Such ancient and beautiful structures are great relief from banal and tasteless architectural style of today. Sadly, many “modern” church adopted the ugly modern style.



Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina is of Baroque architectural style, which was said to be promoted by the Catholic Church to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architectural style. Baroque meant to inspire worship by filling the eyes with beauty inspired by God.

The beautiful Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

Marikina was once ruled by the descendants of Lakan Dula, ruler of the Bayan ng Tondo. In 1571, Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi landed in Maynila and proclaimed the place as the capital of the young Spanish colony. Some of the Augustinian missionaries that accompanied Legazpi ventured out of Maynila and, in 1572, reached Chorillo in the present-day Barangay Barangka. A church dedicated to San Isidro Labrador stands on the site, where I believe the Augustinians built their first chapel in Marikina.

National Historical Institute marker for Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

Marikina was the site of intense rivalry between the Augustinians and the Jesuits. The Augustinians were the first to reach Marikina and established a visita in Barangka. The Jesuits reached Marikina in 1630 and established a new visita in the now Barangay Jesus de la Peña. The Jesus de la Peña Chapel that was established by the Jesuits still stands today. The Jesuits also crossed Marikina River and established a visita in Barangay Sta. Elena. In the same year, Marikina was transferred to the Jesuits by the Archbishop of Manila.

The Jesuits started improving Marikina by inviting Chinese traders and agriculturists. The visita's population grew and its economy improved so much so that Marikina was elevated into a full-pledged parish in 1681 and was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of the Abandoned.

Marian image at Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty


Mama Mary began to be honored as Our Lady of the Abandoned in 1401 in Valencia, Spain when a hospital for the mentally ill, homeless, and abandoned children was established. The original image of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Our Lady of the Abandoned) was said to be created by three angels. Legend says that three pilgrims requested free board and lodging of three days in the hospital. The hospital administrators, after noticing that no sound emanated within the room where the pilgrims stayed, forced open the door on the fourth day. The pilgrims were gone but inside the room is the image of Mama Mary, which later on called as Our Lady of the Abandoned. The wife of a hospital administrator, who was blind, regained her sight after touching the image. Thus, it was believed that the pilgrims were in fact angels who gifted them with the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary. 

In the Philippines, the oldest image of Our Lady of the Abandoned is in the old church of Santa Ana, Manila. The said image was made in Valencia, Spain and was touched to the original image of Our Lady of the Abandoned before being sent to the Philippines. Unfortunately for Marikeños, their original image of Our Lady of the Abandoned was burned during the Filipino-American War. The image enshrined in their church was made in 1902. The image was made through the generosity of Marikeños, who provided the funds and materials for it. 

Painting depicting the procession of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina CIty

Marikeños love the Virgin Mary and many of them experienced miracles through their devotion to Our Lady of the Abandoned. Notable of these miracles happened during the Second World War when a Japanese aircraft dropped two bombs over the church. The first bomb destroyed most the church but the Marian image was unharmed while the second bomb did not explode, thus saving the townspeople. I remember a similar miracle, also attributed to the Virgin Mary, that saved the Baguio Cathedral from aerial bombs.

Other miracles attributed to Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina include the safe passage of a guerilla from Japanese checkpoint during the War, rescue of kidnapped children of a Filipino-Chinese, and the full-healing of a man from lung cancer.

Image of Our Lady of the Abandoned in front of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

Because of Marikeños devotion to Our Lady of the Abandoned and the miracles attributed to her, the image was episcopally crowned in 2002 and then canonically crowned in 2005 during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI.

The baptistry featuring the image of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

The construction of the current stone structure of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church was started 1687 after the parish was returned to Augustinians. The old church in Jesus de la Peña was abandoned because of incessant flooding of Marikina River. The parish was transferred to higher ground at Our Lady of the Abandoned Church. The parish was finally transferred to the Jesuits in 1690, the same year when the construction of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church was finished. A royal decree in 1696 firmly placed Marikina under Jesuit jurisdiction, thus ending the Augustinian-Jesuit “War” in Marikina with the victory for the Society of Jesus.

Dios te Salve, Maria in Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

“Dios te Salve, Maria” is the phrase that welcomes visitors entering. It is the opening phrase of the Hail Mary prayer that is usually said while praying the Holy Rosary.

Aisle and beautiful ceiling of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

On the ceiling are paintings depicting the life scenes of our Lord Jesus that are being meditated while praying the Holy Rosary. 

Wedding arch and wedding decorations in Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

The altar features the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Abandoned on a beautiful retablo. Too bad that there was a wedding during my visit so I was not able to take a good photo of the altar.

Altar of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church in Marikina CIty

My visit Our Lady of the Abandoned introduced me to the beautiful heritage of Marikina. I did not expect that this city have hidden gems and those gems are being preserved and taken care of by the Marikeños and their city government. 

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Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina CIty
(Source: OLA Parish FB page)

Prayer to Our Lady of the Abandoned or Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados (Tagalog) 

Ave Maria, ikaw ang mapagmahal na Inang kumakalinga sa aming lahat. Ikaw ang mahabaging Ina na kumukupkop sa mga walang masilungan. Kami ay lumalapit sa iyo, bukod na pinagpalang Ina ng aming Panginoon. Ikaw ang aming Reyna; pamunuan mo kami sa paglaban sa kasamaan. Ikaw ang aming Guro; papaglinawin mo ang aming isip sa panahong kapos kami sa pang0unawa. Ikaw ang aming Ilaw; tanglawan mo kami nang 'di kami maligaw sa dilim. Ikaw ang aming Lunas; hilumin mo ang sakit ng aming kaluluwa at katawan. Amin Ina, ipagtanggol mo kami sa aming pagkaapi. Aliwin mo kami sa amin hapis. Palayain mo kami sa aming pagkaalipin sa aming mga kahinaan. Onang mapagkawanggawa, ilahad mo ang iyong mga kamay sa mga kapus-palad na nangangailangan ng iyong tulong. Inang sangkatauhan, ipanalangin mo kami at akayin sa landas patungo kay Hesukristong Panginoon namin. Amen.

Kami'y iyong ipanalangin, mahabaging Ina ng mga Walang Mag-ampon.

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Writing this blog post felt like I was writing a thesis. I made in-depth research about the history of Marikina and its churches. I made this timeline, compiled from various Internet sources, which I believe would be useful for those doing their own research about Marikina City.

1572 - Augustinians arrived at Chorillo in Barangka. Maria Concepcion Rapisora-Lagos mentioned in her dissertation that the Augustinian friars built Jesus de la Peña Chapel (or precursor structure) in Nangka. 

1630 - The Jesuits arrived to Mariquina and celebrated mass at a warehouse. The warehouse is now the Jesus de la Peña Church. The Archbishop of Manila transferred Marikina from the Augustinians to the Jesuits. The Jesuits crossed Marikina River and established Barangay Sta. Elena. Probably, they built the first structure of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church.

1681 - Marikina was elevated into a parish and placed under patronage of Our Lady of the Abandoned.

1687 - Marikina is returned to Augustinians with the town San Mateo, Rizal. Jesus de la Peña was abandoned because of incessant flooding. The parish was transferred to the church in Sta. Elena. The construction of the current stone structure of Our Lady of the Abandoned was started this year.

1688 - Marikina parish became independent from Pasig.

1690 - Marikina was returned to the Jesuits. The construction of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church was finished.

1696 - Jesuits’ jurisdiction over Marikina was confirmed by a Royal Decree.

1791 - The church in Barangay Sta. Elena was consecrated to Our Lady of the Abandoned.

1898 - Wikipedia source claims that the first image of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina was burned during Filipino-American War. However, that War started in 1899. It is more probable that the image was burned during the Tagalog Rebellion led by Katipuneros. 

1902 - The second image, which is the one currently enshrined in in the church,  was made.

2002 - Episcopal coronation of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina.

2005 - Canonical coronation of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina.


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Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.


References:

Panalangin sa Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, Birhen ng Marikina transcribed from the photo of Lloyd Rainier Sexon

Mother of Refuge article by Tomas U. Santos in The Varsitarian

Virgen de los desamparados in Wikipedia

Barangays of Marikina in Wikipedia