Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Twin Churches of Bustillos

Yes, that’s plural! Funny how two churches could sit almost right beside each other. Well, not literally side by side as they seem to have been built at an angle from each other. Though their entrances converge on one street. Gosh, I thought the St. Joseph Parish and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Concepcion in Zamboanga City were too near each other. I also thought it was weird for Cebu’s Metropolitan Cathedral to be just a short block away from the Basilica Minore Del Sto Nino. So there I was, wondering all the more, how come churches big as these are beside each other?

Am not sure what brought me to this area in Sta. Mesa. Probably this was the time I accompanied a friend to have his license renewed at the Professional Regulation Commission’s offices in Manila. I have been to Bustillos years ago when I was just a boy who would jump out to tag along when mom would go anywhere. And I think she had friends who lived in this area. I think I may have even entered one or both of those churches. But it did not catch my curiosity then, why such two parishes are a few steps from each other.

I wonder, when mass is being celebrated on one, wouldn’t the priest or the brethren get disturbed or distracted when the same activity is in progress at the other? I’d like to stand in between them soon one Sunday, perchance to hear and experience how things happen at these churches. Here’s more, wouldn’t it be weird if a wedding was in progress at one church while a funeral is at the other?! Ah hehe, since they’ve been together so for a long time, I think the priests and the faithful do get along just as well.

Why are those churches there and how come they are together? I needed to know so I asked around… I learned that the darker colored church (is that orange?) is called ‘Our Lady of Loreto Parish’ or more commonly referred to as Loreto Church while the lighter colored church (pink) is called ‘St. Anthony Of Padua Shrine’ generally called San Antonio de Padua Church. And none of the two is new. Gosh, the former has been there since the 1600s while the latter started as a chapel when the St. Francis of Assisi church over at Intramuros was downed during the war. Then it was later erected/reconstructed into a church due to the number of devotees flocking to it. Together, these two edifices are commonly referred to by locals as "The Twin Churches of Bustillos". But I think am not satisfied, I need to know more.

Anyway, now that I know they’re both ‘historic’, the more that I itch to visit them for a closer look. Am sure I am bound to find or learn more about these two churches. And yes, I really dream of standing between the two while mass services are simultaneously in progress hehe!

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