St. Augustine Parish Church (Baliuag)
|St. Augustine Parish Church of Baliuag|
Facade of Saint Augustine of Hippo Parish Church in Baliuag
|Location||Baliuag, Bulacan, Philippines|
|Province||Diocese of Malolos|
|Year consecrated||1801, 1998|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Parish (Catholic Church), Suffragan Diocese (Vicariate of St. Augustine of Hippo)|
|Leadership||Rev. Msgr. Andres Valera, HP, SLL|
|Completed||1801 or 1830|
|Materials||adobe stones, bricks, gravel, sand and steel|
The Saint Augustine Parish Church of Baliuag, commonly known as Baliuag Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in Plaza Naning at the poblacion (town center) of Baliuag, in Bulacan province, Philippines. The church is a parish church of the Diocese of Malolos, which is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The parish was established by the Augustinians in 1733 under the patronage of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The town's feast is celebrated every second Sunday of May. During the church's Great Jubilee celebration in the year 2000, the Diocese of Malolos designated the Baliuag Church as one of the 11 pilgrimage churches in the province of Bulacan.
The present parish priest of Baliuag Church is Rev. Msgr. Andres Valera, HP, SLL, who assumed the office in November 2013. He previously served as Vicar-General of the Diocese of Malolos and Rector of the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan.
Baliuag Church's architectural style is Baroque as evidenced by the facade and interiors. Its massive reredos is massive and a complex work of art reflecting the Spanish and Latin American architecture integration with indigenous Philippines works of art. The church has one of the most imposing buttresses and foundations. Its massive limestone, gravel and sand, steel and bricks structure had been designed to withstand revolts and rebellions, as evidenced by its fortresses facade.
The facade is striking due to the massiveness of its bell tower. The huge relief of Moses at the lower portion was a latter addition that entailed covering up a circular window. In front of the facade is the portico, also a later addition to the building. It covers the outside of the simple main door but with elegant decorations. The stones and bricks of the two-level facade topped by a triangle pediment, are in danger of pulverizing for lack of protective "paletada", which can be readily seen at the right niche wherein portions of the decorative carvings have started to disintegrate (as of 2008).
In front of the church and renovated convent are spacious parking areas for vehicles tightly guarded by a solid iron entrance gate and the entire Church is surrounded by concrete fences.
Spanish records ("Apuntes históricos de la provincia augustiniana del Santísimo Nombre de Jesús de Filipinas", año 1909: Filipinas, by P. Bernardo Martinez) reveal that Fr. Juan de Albarran, OSA was the assigned parish priest of Baliuag in 1733. The parish of Baliuag was founded and began its official existence on May 26, 1733. The first church and convent was first established at Barangay Sta. Barbara, Baliuag. The first baptism in Baliuag Church was ordered by Fr. Lector and Fr. Feliz Trillo, Provincial of the Province on June 7, 1733. The town or pueblo was created in the provincial Chapter of May 15, 1734, and the appointment of Fr. Manuel Bazeta or Baseta as first parish priest.
Between 1769-1774, the second church of Baliuag was built by Father Gregorio Giner. Fr. Esteban Diez Hidalgo came to Baliuag in 1789, and served as the longest parish priest of Baliuag. Under his curacy, the church and convent was moved to its present location in 1790, after which construction began. The church of mortar and stone was completed in 1801 or 1830.
Historian Fr. Joaquín Martínez de Zúñiga arrived in the Philippines on August 3, 1786 and visited Baliuag on February 17, 1802 with Spanish Naval officer Ignacio Maria de Álava hosted by Fray Esteban Diez.
Fr. Joaquín Martínez de Zúñiga, OSA, in his 1803 Historia de las Islas Filipinas, wrote that the convent or parochial house of San Agustin in Baliuag is the best in the whole archipelago, and that no edifice in Manila can be compared to it in symmetry and beauty amid its towering belfry, which has a panoramic view of the town. The monk further stated that the convent was a repository of priceless parish records which dated to the founding of Baliuag.
The earthquake of June 3, 1863, one of the strongest ever to hit Manila and its environs, damaged the Baliuag Church. In 1870, the reconstruction began after a temporary house of worship was established, the “Provincial” on Año 1733 street. (It was later used by the RVM Sisters of the Colegio de la Sagrada Familia (now St. Mary's College of Baliuag) as classroom). Antonio de Mesa, “Maestrong Tonio" fabricated the parts to have finished the Baliuag Church.
During the July 19, 1880 quake, the church received considerable damage. The belfry that was completed in 1866 by Father Matias Novoa was also damaged by the same quake. It was later repaired by Father Thomas Gresa. During the Spanish colonial era, Baliwag had 30 curates between 1733 and 1898.
American colonial period
The Philippine-American civil and military authorities chose Baliuag as the site of the first Philippine elections of May 7, 1899. The Filipinos gathered at the plaza of the St. Augustine church after the Holy Mass, and thereafter the officials were selected based on the qualifications for voters set by the Americans.
The Baliuag Church underwent several rehabilitation. The first was during the term of Fr. Amado Paulino. His engineer, Bert Iral did the face lift, restored the rectory and the main building including the addition of the marble slabs for the departed. He also built the tall portico that is supported by two sturdy columns at the main door entrance. A small cupola was placed on top of the belfry for four giant trumpet loudspeakers.
For the 1972 town fiesta, the "Silungan" (canopy) was restored. In 1979, the towering marble relief of Moses holding The Ten Commandments was added to the Church. It was unveiled and blessed on March 7, 1983 as a gift of the Town Fiesta Executive Committee under Bishop Leoploldo Arcaira, then the parish priest of Baliuag.
The convent and refectory including the facade were restored in 1993 to its old Spanish colonial look in time for the town fiesta. The St. Francis of Assisi statue and the St. Augustine Multi-Purpose Parish Hall were added.
The Balibuntal Club '94 and Parish Pastoral Council (Sangguniang Pastoral) helped built the “Galeria San Agustin”, the church museum, so that visitors can appreciate the church’s treasuries and history. It was finished on May 28, 1994 by Rodrigo S. Ligon and Menchie P. Martinez. The Knights of Columbus, Mother Butler’s Guild (Mother Marie Joseph Butler), the Adoration Chapel, and many other Parish Offices were later added to serve the religious needs of the parishioners.
Msgr. Feliciano M. Palma Jr., V.G., the parish priest of San Agustin Church from 1987-2001, did the major rebuilding of the Church from 1996-1998 after it had been invaded by termites since 1990. Palma mobilized Lito Tengco's SACOY to fund the restoration under Administrator Joel Pascual. The August 27, 1996 Telethon-Concert dubbed as "Ang Lahat ng ito'y para sa'yo Panginoon" resulted the inflow of PHP 2 million donations. The second concert on August 8, 1997, "Sa iyo lamang, Panginoon, Salamat" raised PHP 1 million resulting in the solemn inauguration of the Church on August 28, 1998 amid the full restoration amount of PHP 7,106,399 spent. Tats Villanueva added ceiling and dome paintings.
The altar of the Immaculate Concepcion at the church patio was erected on May 7, 2003 by the St. Augustine Charity Clinic.
Holy Mass and liturgical services
The Parish celebrates Holy Mass: Sundays - Morning: 5:00am, 7:00am, 9:00nam, 10:30am (Charismatic Mass) Afternoon: 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm (1st Sunday Youth Mass) Week days: Morning: 5:30 am, 7:00 am, 8:00 am Afternoon: 5:30 pm.
Baptism, Sundays, 11:30 a.m. Confirmation, 1st Sunday 1:00 pm; By appointment: Confession and counseling, Blessing, Wedding, Sick call and Funeral Mass.
Parish Hours: 9:00 - 12:00 noon, 2:00 - 5:00 pm Sunday: 9:00 - 12:00 noon.
Novenas: Monday - Holy Spirit, 5:00 pm Tuesday - Divine Mercy, 7:30 am; Bible Study, 7:00 pm; Holy Face, 3:00 pm Wednesday - Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 7:30 am – 5:00 pm Thursday - St. Augustine, 5:00 pm First Friday - Sacred Heart of Jesus, 4:30 pm First Saturday - Fatima, 5:00 am.
Parish Charity Clinic: Open Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
"Harana kay Sta. Cecilia", (Feast day is on November 22) on November 20, 2009 – 2012, St. Augustine Parish Church, 7:00 pm.
Good Friday processions
The Baliuag Lenten Procession on Good Friday is one of the longest Lenten procession in the Philippines. The procession around the town is joined by the parishioners along with floats (carozas or carriages) of life-size dioramas depicting scenes during the time of Jesus. The families of Baliuag launch over a hundred richly adorned giant floats depicting the passion of Jesus Christ. In 2012 the procession included 93 carriages; in 2013, 102 carriages.
Held every Holy Wednesday and Good Friday, the procession starts in the early evening, and it is viewed by local and foreign tourists, an anticipated attraction during Holy Week in Baliuag.
- Our Lady of Most Holy Rosary Parish Church (Barangay Makinabang)
- Sub-Parish Church of Sto. Cristo (Barangay Sto. Cristo)
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