Visita Iglesia 2020: San Isidro Labrador Church (Pasay)

In the novel Spring Moon of Bette Bao Lord, one part that stood out for me is the scene about the Boxer Rebellion in China where nationalists attacked foreigners and their fellow Chinese who were converts to Christianity. In one scene, a nationalist mockingly called a lady as “worshipper of Carpenter God” while murdering her family.

Jesus the Carpenter God is a mockery from the mouth of pagans but not so for us Christians because Jesus is indeed a carpenter and that does not made Him a lesser god. In fact, He lifted the value of man’s hard work and showed us that there is dignity in our labors. 

Our Lord emptied Himself of divinity and became man - and not just that but he chose a lowly stature - He chose to be poor, to be a carpenter who is bound to labor all day just to get enough money to buy ample food for a day. In short, Jesus chose to be a daily wage earner - a “no-work-no-pay” kind of guy. It is indeed foolishness and illogical that the God who created the universe became someone who is in deep poverty.

This “foolishness” of our Lord is comfort to those who labor because He is one of them. The saints can see this wisdom of our Lord and of those saints is Saint Isidore the Farmer, who is also known as San Isidro Labrador.

Today is Maundy Thursday and the church that I feature today is the one dedicated to San Isidro Labrador located along Taft Avenue in Pasay City.

San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

San Isidro Labrador Church is one of the churches that I see every time I ride the LRT.  It is noticeable since it is the only big church along Taft Avenue.

San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

The church is also noticeable because of the big stained glass windows on the facade. The windows feature Saint Isidore holding a shovel.

San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

The facade of this church looks beautiful at night when the stained glass is lighted.

Another beautiful feature of this church is the image of the Last Supper at the facade.

The Last Supper on the facade of San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

The image of the Last Supper is the reason why I feature San Isidro Labrador Church this Maundy Thursday.

San Isidro Labrador is a farmer who is highly venerated not only in his home-country Spain but in many parts of the world. In our country, many towns, particularly the rural ones, celebrate feasts dedicated to San Isidro. The most popular and colorful feast dedicated to San Isidro is the Pahiyas Festival of Lucban, Quezon.

Statue of San Isidro Labrador in San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

San Isidro is a laborer just like Jesus. By the strength of his arms he plow the fields and through his sweat his master gets a good harvest. San Isidro is a peasant and just a farmer-tenant or a kasama in our language. Thus, he does not own the land that he till. I think this is the reason why many Filipino farmers devotees of San Isidro because he is a poor farmer just like them.

Despite his poverty, San Isidro gave the little that he had to poor. He even gave food to the hungry birds. Because of this, God gave him so much favor that he was able to do miracles while he was still alive. It was said that San Isidro was assisted by angels in the farms. Through prayers he brought back to life his master’s deceased daughter. The people of Spain continued to receive miracles through San Isidro after his death. Such is the power of someone who has great faith in God. 

San Isidro Labrador and Santa Maria de la Cabeza in San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay also honors Maria Torribia, who is San Isidro’s wife. She shared the holiness of her husband so she is also called Santa Maria de la Cabeza even though she is not yet canonized by the Church.

It is interesting to note that San Isidro’s wife is called Santa Maria de la Cabeza (Saint Mary of the Head) because her head was carried during a procession when the people are asking God for rain.

It was said that Santa Maria always had a pot of stew because her husband always bring to their home hungry beggars. Santa Maria continued her piety  and charity even after the death of her husband.

San Isidro and Santa Maria are good examples of husband and wife supporting each other in the path to holiness.

San Isidro Catholic School in Pasay

The area where San Isidro Labrador Church stands was under the jurisdiction of Santa Clara de Montefalco Parish. San Isidro Labrador Parish was established in 1951 while the church was constructed from 1961 to 1966.

Historical marker in San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

The bell tower on the left side of the church was only constructed in 2011 just in time for the 60th anniversary of San Isidro Labrador Parish.

Bell Tower of San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

Unfortunately, the church was under renovation and was closed during my visit so I had no choice but to stay outside.

San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

The church is spacious. Stained glass served as the background of the church’s altar.

Inside San Isidro Labrador Church in Pasay

I was not able to take a good photo of the altar. Well, I do hope that I could get a better view of what’s inside this church in the future.

San Isidro is a good example for us who labor on this earth. In Genesis, the Lord pronounced a curse that man had to toil so that he can eat. It was indeed a curse because while in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did not do hard work so that they could eat. However, Jesus showed that the curse is God’s way of teaching us that hard work is a path to holiness. Our Lord did not avoid hard work. In fact, He has the power to command the angels to do the work for Him and his foster-father Joseph. Yet, for many years, he toiled as a carpenter with Saint Joseph. He affirmed the dignity of labor.

This Holy Week, aside from meditating on the passion and death of our Lord, may we also meditate on Jesus as a humble carpenter. May we learn to honor all laborers, including those who are being looked down by society. May we also learn our hard works can be offered to God and become part of our treasures in Heaven.

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If you wish to contact the parish priest of San Isidro Labrador Church, please contact hime at telephone no. (02) 525-1188 and their Facebook Page.

The schedule of the Holy Mass in San Isidro Labrador Church is the following:

Monday to Friday: 06:00 AM and 06:30 PM
Saturday:  06:00 AM
Saturday anticipated mass: 06:30 PM
Sunday: 06:00 AM, 07:15 AM, 08:45 AM, 10:00 AM, 05:00 PM, 06:00 PM, and 07:15 PM

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Prayer to San Isidro Labrador

St. Isidore, you lived a humble life working the land. You attended Holy Mass each morning
which jeopardized the employment that allowed your family to eat. The Lord repaid your love
by sending his angels to plow the fields while you were at Church.

Dear Isidore, ask Our Lord Jesus to place deep faith in our hearts and water it each day with your prayers that we may progress in holiness as you did. Pray that as our heart grows in love and humility we may be a living sign of Jesus to those around us.

As a farmer who used his hands to bring forth nourishing food please ask Jesus to bless us with a bountiful harvest. Pray that our hands and bodies will remain strong that we may farm the land God has given us.
Ask Jesus to care for our gardens as he tends our hearts. Pray that weeds will be kept far from our fields and likewise give us an aversion to sin. Humbly we ask that you carry the petitions
we hold in our heart to our most loving and generous Lord.


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Tenth Station of the Cross: Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes
(Source: Wikimedia)

We are now in the fifth church for our virtual Visita Iglesia so we pray the:

Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time

If you missed the earlier stations, I suggest that you visit the churches that we featured earlier in this year’s virtual Visita Iglesia:

Holy Wednesday: National Shrine of Saint Jude (Manila)

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1. San Isidro Labrador Church Facebook page
2. Novena to Saint Isidore from Catholic Doors
3. About St. Isidore from San Isidro Parish website
4. Isidore the Laborer and Maria Torribia from Wikipedia 

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