Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew

The Saint Andrew Parish Church, known today as the Cathedral Parish of Saint Andrew is considered one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It was established in the year 1580 by Augustinian Friars in order to spread the Spanish religion of Roman Catholicism or Christianity throughout the Philippines. ["Nobena sa Karangalan ni San Andres Apostol" (Novena) November, 2005]

Historical Background

During the Spanish Period

The story of the Parish of St. Andrew started when Augustinian missionaries set foot on a fishing village near the sea, more than four hundred years ago.

The missionaries were given the important task to spread the Roman Catholic faith among the natives. They were to teach the natives of the importance of being "one mind, one heart, for God". "Palanyag to Parañaque" by "Dulce Festin-Baybay", a book published by the City of Parañaque] In doing so, it would help facilitate the conquest of islands for the King of Spain.

The town was called "Palanyag," during that time. It's the contraction for the word "Paglalayag" which means sailing. At that time, Palanyag consisted of only several nipa huts grouped as a residential settlement known as "barangays."

In line with the Papal instruction of May 1493, known as the "Inter Caetera", which enjoined the Spanish rulers to spread the gospel to the inhabitants that they would come to rule. It was tasked to the Augustinians to spread Roman Catholism in the lands that they conquered, and one of them included the town of Palanyag (modern day Parañaque).

To spread the gospel and evangelize the natives, a motto of various missionaries were consistently neverbate through the centuries in Palanyag. A motto that is still being implemented by the Diocesan Priests in line with the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines.

The pioneer missionary in Parañaque was Rev. Fr. Juan de Orto, O.S.A. Although based in Manila, he started to administer the spiritual needs of the village folks in 1575 in which he organized a thriving Christian community.

It was not until 1580 that Fr. Diego de Espinar was appointed prior or superior in the convent or religious house of Parañaque. He established a mission house, with its spiritual jurisdiction reaching up to Kawit, Cavite. He was assisted by Fray Francisco Campos.

The Conference of Chiefs of the Religious Order, held on May 11, 1580, accepted Palanyag as an independent town, and it is in this date which the foundation day of the Parish of St. Andrew the Apostle was officially known. In the same year also, St. Andrew the Apostle, being the patron of fishermen was officially declared the patron and defender of the said church.

Fr. Elviro Jorde Perez, being the Augustinian historian in the 19th century, wrote that as early as 1575, the Provincial Chapter subjected the populace of Palanyag to the patronage of St. Andrew, and later on to the advocacy of the Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso, an image of the blessed Virgin Mary enthroned in the said Parish on August 10, 1625. ["Nobena sa Karangalan ng Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso," October 7, 1996, pg. 6]

Since there was no income for parish maintenance at that time, royal support, as ordered by the Spanish king, Philip II, was given to each religious order who worked on the conversion of the natives. Parañaque, in 1589, was given a periodic sustenance which consisted of 200 pesos and 200 bushels of rice for the two religious assigned at St. Andrew. Later on, financial assistance was given to buy wine and oil to keep the Blessed Sacrament lighted.

During the 16th and 17th century, the Parish of St. Andrew was made up of only a few homes, found mostly along the Parañaque River and Manila Bay in the present barrios of Don Galo, La Huerta and San Dionisio. Later, Tambo, Santo Niño and Baclaran developed.

Barrios Don Galo, La Huerta and San Dionisio built "bisitas"", or satellite chapels with facades built facing the St. Andrew Church. The San Nicolas de Tolentino Chapel, the one located at Barrio La Huerta, still has the inscription 1776, the year the said chapel was erected.

In 1662, when the Chinese pirate Koxinga threatened to invade Manila, a governor general by the name of Sabiniano Manrique de Lara, ordered the demolition of all stone churches and convents located outside Intramuros, Manila. The stones were used to beef up the defenses of Manila as well as to prevent its use by the enemy as defenses. More that a dozen churches and convents, which included the only one in Parañaque were torn down.

The original convent of St. Andrew was demolished. It was then when Fr. Dionisio Suarez persuadedly prevented the church itself to suffer the same fate as the convent. It was rebuilt some 20 years later.

Fr. Eusebio Polo was the parish priest of St. Andrew in 1759, during the British Invasion of Manila. He was then succeeded by Fr. Manuel de Sto. Tomas Garcia in 1762. Both priests were deported to Goa, India, with 12 other fellow Augustinians.

"The Times of the C.I.C.M."

After the four hundred year supremacy and ruling of the Augustinians came the missionaries from the C.I.C.M. or Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A lot of changes were noticeable during their reign. Among them are the foundation of the parish's school, St. Andrew's School, the several replacements of the church's altar and the creation of a dome on which the crucifix that signifies the Lord Jesus Christ is placed. "Simbahan ng San Andres Noon at Ngayon" (The Church of St. Andrew, Then and Now) by "Dr. Lulet Tungpalan, Ms. Noemi Pabico and Mr. Raymond Calma", from the LAYAG, the official newsletter of the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, year-end edition 2004]

"The Diocesan Priests"

In the arrival of the Diocesan Priests in 1994 (led by Rev. Fr. Romerico Prieto),"Palanyag to Parañaque" by "Dulce Festin-Baybay", a book published by the City of Parañaque] the altar was once again replaced and enthroned the image of the Lady of Buen Suceso in the center Tabernacle. Because of the desire to make the altar more attractive, it was again replaced in the year 1997 with a classic baroque style. The said altar is now the one seen in the church itself. In this said altar, the image of the parish's patron, St. Andrew the Apostle is found on the right hand side of the altar, while the image of St. Joseph is found on the left. In the center of the altar is where the image of Our Lady of Buen Suceso is found. "Simbahan ng San Andres Noon at Ngayon" (The Church of St. Andrew, Then and Now) by "Dr. Lulet Tungpalan, Ms. Noemi Pabico and Mr. Raymond Calma", from the LAYAG, the official newsletter of the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, year-end edition 2004]

"Being the Seat of the Diocese of Parañaque"

Since the church is undergoing change with the factors of time and technology, before His Eminence Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin retired, he erected new dioceses due to the increasing number of baptized Catholics and one of the newly formed dioceses is the Diocese of Parañaque. Bishop Jesse E. Mercado, DD was appointed as its first bishop on January 25, 2003.

In order for the changes to become evident, the church provided a new organ that the choirs use during masses. Also, a cathedra was placed, as a seat of the Bishop. The baptismal font was placed in the right hand side of the altar and there were twelve marble stones with crucifixes which symbolizes the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. There was also the setting up of the PowerPoint visuals to guide the parishioners in celebration of the holy masses.

According to Rev. Fr. Jun Interno, SVD, St. Andrew's School administrator and parish priest of the Sto. Niño Parish, based on the statistics done in the year 2002, the cathedral is now reaching out to more than 1,000,000 baptized believers of the Roman Catholic religion (91.9% of the total population in the Diocese of Parañaque). "Simbahan ng San Andres Noon at Ngayon" (The Church of St. Andrew, Then and Now) by "Dr. Lulet Tungpalan, Ms. Noemi Pabico and Mr. Raymond Calma", from the LAYAG, the official newsletter of the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, year-end edition 2004]

Vision

"In the Filipino Language"

"Transliteration"

Mission Statements

In accordance with the parish's vision, we have come out with this set of mission statements and principles:

# Jesus Christ as the tree and the baptized believers being the fruits, the church is the communion and the root of the Word of God and the teachings of the church;
# Evangelization is one experience of faith in the salvation done by Jesus Christ;
# Spreading the Kingdom of God to the poverty stricken and the youth, and to families and communities needing the Holy Spirit's guidance;
# As the seat of the bishop of the Diocese, the parish should be the center of renewal of liturgy and prayer life, integral evangelization and Basic Ecclesial Communities;
# Setting St. Andrew the Apostle as an example to be "fishers of men;"
# And the devotion to the Lady of Buen Suceso, the role model of faith.

Core Values

The concrete standards of which the said principles can be done is determined by the following set of core values:

# Open mindedness to unite with others and avoidance of being exclusive and the "kanya-kanya" system (working individually and apart from others);
# To share a living faith to all and avoidance of a privatized or self-centered faith expression.

Administration

The current Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew is Msgr. Manuel G. Gabriel, after Msgr. Bayani Valenzuela whom the term ended in 2004. He is accompanied with fellow priests, Rev. Fr. Virginio Pedregosa (Parish Administrator), Rev. Fr. Roderick Pacoma (Parochial Vicar and Minister, Ministry for Worship and Liturgy), and Guest Priests Rev. Fr. Renato Dela Rosa, Rev. Fr. Norberto Ochoa and Rev. Fr. Clive Alvyn Ocon.

The Tripartite Council

In order to achieve the parish's vision, the Tripartite Council was formed. The said council is composed of three councils, The Parish Pastoral Council (in which an election of its officers was conducted last July, 2006), The Finance Council, the one which is concerned with the cathedral's finances and resources, and the Parish Formation Council, the one in charge of formation and trainings for the ministries of the parish. Due to the confusion within the limits of the Councils another change was formed. The Tripartite Council still became the policy but the three councils were reviewed and after several meetings a new policy has been formed which consists of the following: There will still be three councils, the First the Parish Formation Council, now headed by Ms. Lynn Santos, the next is the Implementing Council which consists of three councils, the Parish Pastoral Council, headed by Mr. Damaso "Jun" Cruz, Jr., the Parish Youth Coordinating Council, headed by Mr. Christian Franco Ruiz, and the last the Basic Ecclesiastical Community (BEC) Council, headed by Ms. Margie Millena. The third Council is the Parish Finance Council, headed by Ms. Adelia Lopez.

Liturgical Schedules

All times mentioned in this section are all in Philippine Standard Time PST (UTC+8).

"Masses"

Mondays to Saturdays - 6:15 am, 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm (Filipino)

"Sundays"

  • 5:30 am (Filipino)
  • 7:00 am (Filipino)
  • 8:30 am (Filipino)
  • 10:00 am (English)
  • 3:30 pm (Filipino)
  • 5:00 pm (Filipino)
  • 6:30 pm (English)
  • 8:00 pm (Filipino)

    "Baptism"

  • Every Sunday, 11:00 am
  • Special Baptism by Schedule

    "Confirmation"

  • Every fourth Saturday of the month

    "Devotions"

  • Novena in honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, every Wednesday, 5:45 pm
  • Novena in honor of Sacred Heart of Jesus, every Friday, 5:45 pm
  • Novena in honor of Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso (GOZO), every first Saturday of the month, 6:15 am

    Annual Events

    "Feasts"

    Every year, the parish community of St. Andrew's celebrate two main feasts. First of them is the feast of Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso. Back in the year 1620's up to year 2004, the feast is celebrated every 29th day of November. The feast day of Our Lady of Buen Suceso was then moved to August 10 in the year 2005, in line with her enthronement in this said parish by the Augustinians back in the year 1625. A novena prayer in honor of the Blessed Virgin is prayed for nine days before the actual feast day. During the feast day itself, a mass is held and a procession follows. The same is also done during the feast day of the parish's patron, St. Andrew the Apostle.

    "Canonical Coronation of Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso"

    September 8, 2000 was the date when the image of Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso was canonically crowned as the Patroness of the City of Parañaque. ["The Solemn Canonical Coronation of the Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso," September 8, 2000] Every year, the community of St. Andrew's commemorate this day by celebrating masses similar to its Sunday schedule/format.

    Notes

    Resources and Bibliography

    # "The Solemn Canonical Coronation of the Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso," September 8, 2000
    # "Palanyag to Parañaque" by "Dulce Festin-Baybay", a book published by the City of Parañaque
    # "Nobena sa Karangalan ng Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso," October 7, 1996, pg. 6
    # "Simbahan ng San Andres Noon at Ngayon" (The Church of St. Andrew, Then and Now) by "Dr. Lulet Tungpalan, Ms. Noemi Pabico and Mr. Raymond Calma", from the LAYAG, the official newsletter of the Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew, year-end edition 2004
    # "Nobena sa Karangalan ni San Andres Apostol" (Novena) November, 2005
    # The copy of the Vision, Mission Statements and Core Values came from the Cathedral's office through Ms. Vanjie Salvador and was transliterated in the English language in a way that the author interprets it.
    # Liturgical Schedules are based from the Cathedral's 2007 calendar

    All articles and resources used with permission from their respective owners/authors.


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