Paco Church

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Paco Church
San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church
Facade of the church
Paco Church is located in Philippines
Paco Church
Paco Church
Republic of the Philippines
14°42′27″N 120°59′40″E / 14.707444°N 120.994583°E / 14.707444; 120.994583Coordinates: 14°42′27″N 120°59′40″E / 14.707444°N 120.994583°E / 14.707444; 120.994583
Location Paco, Manila; Philippines
Country  Philippines
Denomination Roman Catholic
Consecrated 1599, 1999, 2011
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Architectural type Church building
Style Neoclassical
Completed 1931
Materials Sand, gravel, cement, mortar and steel
Archdiocese Manila
Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle
Priest(s) Msgr. Rolando R. Dela Cruz

The San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church (Tagalog: Simbahang San Fernando De Dilao ng Paco) is a Roman Catholic church located in Paco, Manila, Philippines,[1] honoring the Spanish king Saint Ferdinand III of Castile. From February 7, 2012 to April 9, 2014, the parish was used as the Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Manila, during the structural renovations of the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The church inside is notable for its romanesque-byzantine interior with recently Italian Baroque styled Altar, most notably the Latin inscriptions similar in style to Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

The church is currently administered by its parochial priest, Monsignor Fray Rolando de la Cruz, the Vicar-general and Moderator Curiae of the Archdiocese of Manila. In addition, the church provides an active medical, dental and ENT charitable services for its poor parishioners within the community.

Diocesan Parish Priests[edit]

Name Year started-ended Present Assignment
Most Rev. Fr. Teodoro "Bishop Ted" Bacani, DD, STD 1984 Bishop Emeritus of Diocese of Novaliches
Rev. Msgr. Domingo "Dom" Cirilos, PC 1996-2010 Retired Priest of Archdiocese of Manila
Rev. Msgr. Rolando "Rolly" Dela Cruz, PC, VG 2010- Present Vicar General of Archdiocese of Manila


Name Present Assignment
Rev. Fr. Carlo P. Del Rosario Parochial Vicar/Asst. Parish Priest
Rev. Fr. Wilfredo C. Talavera Parochial Vicar
Rev. Fr. Celso Alcantara Parochial Vicar
Rev. Fr. Robert Raj Guest Priest
Rev. Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM Guest Priest


In 1580, the first church built was made of nipa and bamboo and was originally dedicated to Our Lady of Purification. Fr. Juan de Garrovillas of the Franciscan order has rebuilt the church using stone materials in 1599-1601. The neighbourhood's name Dilao refers to a native shrub once used to dye textiles yellow (current Filipino orthography: dilaw, "yellow").

In October 3, 1603, the church was attacked and burned by Chinese. It was repaired in 1606 and rebuilt with stone materials by Don Francisco Gómez de Arellano. In 1762, the church suffered another destruction when the English forces who occupied Manila burned the church. In 1791, a temporary church made of bamboo and nipa was erected.

Fr. Joaquin Segui constructed the stone convent in 1793-1794 which was repaired in 1854. In 1880, this convent was ruined by an earthquake. Fr. Bernardo dela Concepcion began the construction of a new church in 1809 and completed in 1814. It was called “Antigua Iglesia de Paco” while Fr. Miguel Richar built the bell tower in 1839-1841. In 1852 and 1880, earthquakes destroyed the church.

Fr. Gilberto Martin began the reconstruction of the church in 1881. When this was about to be completed, a typhoon in 1892 partly destroyed the church. In 1896, Fr. Martin completed the reconstruction work.

On February 5, 1899, during the Fil-Am War, the church was bombed and completely burned. A Belgian priests of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae took possession of the burned church in 1909 and in the following year, Fr. Raymundo Esquinet worked for the construction of a temporary church made of concrete at the site near the destroyed church. In 1924, Fr. Jose Billie proposed a newer and much larger church. The cornerstone of the present church was laid in August 1931.[2]

A notable custom of the church today is the longstanding religious devotion to Nuestro Santo Padre Jesus del Sepulcro also known as Santo Entierro, a statue of the dead Christ encased in a special wood and glass casket that is common to many Filipino churches.

On February 7, 2012, the church was designated as Pro-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Manila until the structural renovations of Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception are completed on April 9, 2014.


The church facade, flanked by tall bell towers, possess a Neoclassica style of architecture. The terraced arcaded portico provides a transitional entrance to the church. The Corinthian columns on the first and second levels of the church plus the triangular pediment give the facade the classic character.[2]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Alarcon, Norma (1991). Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish Periods. Manila: Santo Tomas University Press. ISBN 978-971-506-040-0. 

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