Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Molo Church, Iloilo City, Philippines

History of Molo Church, Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

The Molo Parish Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Western Visayas. It is an awesome imposing edifice of massive white corral rock lording over the Molo Plaza.

The only Gothic church in the entire country outside of Manila, Molo Church was constructed in 1831 under Fray Pablo Montaño and further expanded and finished by Fray Agapito Buenaflor in 1888 under the supervision of Don Jose Manuel Locsin.

Its two belfries had around 30 bells of different sizes ranging from small handbells to big campaniles making a musical tone.
The Gothic character of the church is manifested not only in its two pointed towers but also on the pointed arches at the main altar and four side altars, pulpits and confessionals.

On August 4, 1886, national hero Jose Rizal dropped at Molo on his way back to Manila from exile at Dapitan in Mindanao. He went to see his friend, Raymundo Melliza who showed him the church.

In his diary, Rizal wrote, "We went to Molo to see the church painted by a lad who has left the locality. The church is pretty (iglesia bonita) outside with paintings inside mostly copies of biblical scenes by Gusty Dore."
Actually, there were two painters who painted the murals inside the church Mariano Mabunay and Jesus Huervas.

The church was so strong that it withstood several strong earthquakes in the past. During World War II, it was the evacuation center of the civilians supervised by its parish priest, Msgr. Manuel Alba.

One of the original towers which was a Japanese machine gun nest, was destroyed on March 18, 1945, when shelled by the artillery of the United States Liberation Forces bringing its bells crumbling to the ground.

After the war, restoration of the damaged parts of the church was undertaken by Msgr. Alba and Gov. Timoteo Consing, Sr.

The church, which is dedicated to Santa Ana, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Margy, has larger than life images of female saints lined in two rows (eight on each side) inside the church, each standing on a pedestal attached to a massive stone pillar and under the Gothic style canopy.

These saints are Sta. Marcela, Apolonia, Genoveva, Isabel, Felicia, Ines, Monica, Magdalena, Juliana, Lucia, Rosa de Lima, Teresa, Clara, Cecilia, Margarita and Marta.

At the main altar is the statue of Sta. Ana teaching the scripture to the child Mary with the Holy Trinity at the top.

The right side has Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, San Judas Tadeo, San Esteban and Sta. Rita de Casia.

As observed by many, while the female saints are kept inside the church, the streets around the vicinity of the parish are named after the male saints, namely San Jose, Antonio, Marcos and Pedro simply showing how the Moleños give protection to the Moleñas.

At the ceiling of the dome are paintings of the four evangelists.
Recently, murals of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection were added at the sides of the main altar. Biblical scenes and paintings of San Miguel and San Rafael were also added at the door.

On the steps of its doors are the rare piedra china.
Further restoration of the church is still undergoing through the supervision of Engr. Timotel V. Consing Jr and recently, in coordination with the National Historical Institute through the efforts of Senator Franklin Drilon.

In 1992, the National Historical Institute installed a marker on the church declaring it a national landmark through the representation of Sir Knight Rex S. Salvilla.

Here is the list of the parish priests of Molo since 1975: Father Jose de Carvajal, Leon Magbanua, Hermogenes Magallanes, Felix Gonzaga, Andre Picson, Luciano Nicolas, Pablo Montano, Juan dela Cruz, Jose Sitchon, Agapito Buenaflor, Leonardo Lazaro, Juan Hofilena, Cornelio Salas, Miguel Diocson, Circiaco Serrano, Nicolas Valencia, Miguel Alba, Polecarpio Parcon, Fernando Capalla and Fr. Felipe Parian Jr.

Rev. Fr. Tomas Delicana is the incumbent parish priest. His assistant is Rev. Fr. Jesus "Toto" Mana-ay.

Location of Molo Church: Molo, Iloilo City, Philippines

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