Showing posts with label San Diego Church. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Diego Church. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Church in Silay: San Diego Pro-Cathedral



In December 25, 1994, Most Reverend Camilo D. Gregorio, DD, then Bishop of the Diocese of Bacolod, declared San Diego Parish Church as a pro-cathedral.  What is the difference between a cathedral and a pro-cathedral? According to Wikipedia, the church of a diocesan bishop is a cathedral like the San Sebastian Church while a parish church temporarily serving as the cathedral of a diocese is known as a "pro-cathedral". Why then of all churches in the diocese was the Church of San Diego chosen?  This church is the second biggest in the Diocese of Bacolod, next to the San Sebastian Cathedral.   This is the reason why San Diego Church was declared as a pro-cathedral...to function as a cathedral in case something happens to the San Sebastian Cathedral. Of course, we pray that would never happen, although a fire did damage the entire second floor of the Palacio Episcopal (Bishop's Palace) in 1985. Thinking about this now, perhaps this incident prompted the declaration for the San Diego Church?

Ruins of the Spanish Colonial Church in Silay made of coral/limestones

The first church in Silay was a temporary structure made of bamboo poles, amakan (bamboo slats), nipa (a local palm) and cogon grass. Eventually, a more permanent structure was built, made of coral stone but this too fell into ruin by fire. It's ruins is found at the back of the present church.  A bigger church made of bricks and cement was built perpendicular to the old church but this remained unfinished and unfurnished, lacking seats and pews.  As the community grew, there began a clamor for a better place of worship and one Silay resident, Don Jose del Rosario Ledesma and his family offered to shoulder the expenses to build a new church.  The designer picked was an Italian architect, Lucio Bernasconi who made a design based on Romanesque/Renaissance influence. The high arch of the facade is Romanesque, but the twin bell towers and the dome is Renaissance.  Building of the church began in 1925 and before it was completed, contributions from the parishioners were accepted so that it would become everyone's church and not just funded by the Ledesma family (although by this time it was 75% completed). The new San Diego Parish Church was completed and inaugurated in 1927.  It's distinctive dome with it's big cross lighted at night could be seen from the sea and serves as a beacon to seafarers.  The original clock in one of the towers (donated in 1938 by the Montelibano family), the bells and the church's original iron fence and gates are still in existence to this day. The clock was repaired in 2005 and the fence repainted in the same year too.  The statues of the 12 apostles placed on the pillars of the fence were added features in the mid '90s.  Pedestrian entrances were also added at the left and right front gates aside from the ones in the front middle gate.
  
photo credit: Christian Sangoyo of LakadPilipinas
Prayer Room and Grotto
The ruins of the old Church have also been put to good use.  Ever since I can remember the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes with an area for saying mass on her feast day and an elevated area at it's left side (which could have been part of the old church) has always been there. We used to play in this area. Perhaps this was built in the early 60's?  And the prayer room?  This was built on the elevated area sometime in the 1990's and I believe the Silay Parish is one of the first, if not the first who built one among all the other churches in the diocese.  Here the Blessed Sacrament is exposed from 6 AM to 6 PM daily.

In spite of only 2 regular priests assigned to minister to our big parish, we are able to hold twice daily masses and 7 Sunday masses in the pro-cathedral...quiet a feat, I must say. 

Daily Masses Mon-Sat: 6:00 AM/ 5:00 PM
Sunday Masses: 5:00, 6:00, 8:00, 9:30 AM
                           4:00, 5:15, 6:30 PM


About merl_md

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I am a member of the working class, first and foremost: a daughter, a mom, an auntie, a sister, a physician, a caregiver, the family driver and troubleshooter, house princess, devoted nurturer, concerned meddler, accidental blogger etc. I am not religious but I am a true Roman Catholic. I have great faith and trust in God's love and mercy.

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