It is not a secret that I have been serving the church for more than 10 years now. I am no saint but I know my spiritual needs. And as a writer, I think I am in dire need to allot even just a small space in this blog for a church which I have long been so fascinated, the Parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi.
It was in 1578 when Christianity first dawned in Meycauayan. Two of the first Franciscans who had arrived in the country, Fray Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropeza, had come to the eastern part of the town called Sitio Toril (now included in Brgy. Bahay Pari).
Years later, after a strong typhoon had destroyed the small chapel, the center of Christianity for Meycauayan was moved to Lagolo (also called Simbahang Bato, now referred to as Simbahang Luma in Malhacan).
On November 25, 1667, R. P. Fr. Nicolas Santiago arrived in Meycauayan and he noticed the increasing number of residents near the river. During that time, rivers are important means of trade and commerce, and most social and government institutions are ought to be situated close to it. So in year 1668, the said Franciscan ordered the construction of a simple building to give home to the new church. It was made up of adobe stones with a very strong foundation.
As time passed by, the church was improved through the combined efforts of its officials and the people of Meycauayan. Additions and renovations were done during the years that passed.
The bell tower was constructed on 1800 under the new parish priest, R. P. Fr. Francisco de San Miguel y Gascueña. He was also the one who had ordered the creation of the bell, Señor San Jose.
Since then, the parish church of St. Francis of Assisi in Meycauayan had been hailed as one of the most grandiose and most exquisite churches in this part of the province. The admiration was furthered on 1851 after R. P. Fr. Benito de Madridejos o del Rosario had ordered the construction of a new (and immensely beautiful) altar and retablo. The retablo featured the image of the Holy Trinity and the statues of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic de Guzman, Archangel Miguel, Blessed Virgin May, St. Clare of Assisi, and St. Peter de Alcantara.
A lot of things happened since then, including the Great Fire in the early 1950’s which destroyed most of this magnificence. However, faith prevailed and through the (once again) combined efforts of the church officials, and the people of Meycauayan, the church has been brought to its usual glory...
*All information stated above are taken from S. Francisco de Asis : Kasaysayan ng Buhay Pananampalataya ng Meycauayan. (Ronaldo N. Dionisio, 2008)
I have always been taking pictures of this beautiful church since God knows when but only during the pre-nuptial photoshoot of Kuya Jay-R and Uchie was I able to really snap some presentable and justifiable photos of my favorite place.
The newly constructed covered court. It has a name (something with the Immaculate Concepcion on it) but I forgot what it is...
Here is the beautiful interior of the Parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The original retablo was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1950 and was replaced by an image of St. Francis of Assisi and a crucified Jesus. I am yet to understand the depiction of it, actually.
If you are familiar with the Manila Cathedral, you would notice the similarities in the layout of the two churches. Although the one in Manila is much, much more grandiose - considering the intricate details present everywhere, I am confident to say that in terms of historical value, both are at par with each other.
This stained glass designed door leads to the canopy... the very beautiful canopy.
Uchie and Kuya Jay-R at the canopy, which wasn't really part of the original design of the parish church. Nevertheless, it is beautiful. It has this Intramuros-feel...
Well excuse me for my attempt on modeling. This is still a shot from the canopy. I just want to emphasize on the beautiful and centuries old Alagao behind me. It was certainly dramatic, I tell you. It should be a national treasure. If it could only speak, it would be the best source of historical accounts. It was there when the church was first built. It's just too sad that some of its branches were cut when a tornado passed by the area (the story was puzzling, believe me) just recently.
The famous belltower of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi
This small pathway leads to the bridge to the bell tower. It's kinda creepy, I must say. But the place is just so photogenic, I can't help but love it so much.
I really have no idea what Tina and Louie were trying to do but this is the best shot we have of the bridge. It was taken by Kuya Marvin.
The cemetery, framed and viewed from the bridge. Photo by Kuya Marvin.
Inside the bell tower, it's very windy and the view of Meycauayan's skyline is just lovely. There are four windows (terraces to me, actually). It's just too sad that there were a lot of vandalism. I don't know how those people got to climb to the area with paint. :(
The dome of the parish. Beneath it is the altar. Actually, having domes on churches has this religious justification, which - once again - I couldn't remember. :(
The groom playing around the historical Maria Concepcion bell. Its sound is very, very imposing, honestly.
I have no idea what this is for, since church staffs really go here to ring the bell....
I want to discuss about the different bells of the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi (which I have learned from the book) but I think it's gonna be difficult; so as soon as I get to gather enough researches, I'll come up with a separate blog post for that.
I think this is the Señor San Jose bell...
No one among us had the idea what happened during January 18, 1965. I am yet to find it out.
The bride trying to get down the steep wooden stairs without falling. hehehe.
I consider myself lucky to have been able to gain access to the different areas of the church which are not open to the public. However, there are more places that I am yet to discover about my most favorite place in Meycauayan. I'll be sure to update this blog post as soon as I get more pictures and details. :)