Visita Iglesia in Pampanga
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The Seven Churches Visitation also known as Visita Iglesia is a spiritual Roman Catholic Lenten custom by endeavoring to visit seven churches or religious sites.
Pampanga is a favorite destination among faithful visitors not just on Maundy Thursday but throughout the year because of its thick history of miracles. Here are just seven of Pampanga’s numerous churches worth the visit during Holy Week and beyond.
This shrine of the replica of Our Lord of the Holy Sepulchre or Santo Entierro or Apung Mamacalulu is located in Brgy. Lourdes Sur, Angeles City, Pampanga. In 2012, the chapel was decreed by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto as an archdiocesan shrine during the canonical rites and established the chapel as a “center of mercy.”
Devotees from all over Pampanga flock to this shrine every Friday to venerate the supposedly miraculous image of Jesus Christ lying in the sepulcher.
Santa Rita de Casia Parish Church
Located in Dalan Betis Road, Santa Rita, Pampanga is a heritage site that is a home for the holy relic from the flesh of Saint Rita de Cascia, an Augustinian nun who devoted herself to a life of prayer and deeds of charity.
The present church was built in 1839 and was completed in 1868. People who go here appreciate the solid brass facade that has baroque characteristics and the single columns that are relatively slender.
Betis Catholic Church
The jewel in the crown of Guagua, Pampanga is the Betis Church or the Santiago de Galicia Parish which was built in the early 1700s and repaired continually throughout the 1800s. The main fascination of this church is the original ceiling mural done by the famous painter Simon Flores.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and National Museum declared this church a National Treasure, one of the few churches in the country bestowed that honor.
San Guillermo Parish Church
One of the oldest and largest churches in Pampanga is situated in Bacolor. San Guillermo Parish Church was constructed by the Augustinian friars in 1576 on the lot of Don Guillermo Manabat, a rich landlord believed to be the founder of Bacolor. The church was restored by Fr. Manuel Diaz in 1897.
In spite of the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo which half-buried the church on Oct. 1, 1995, masses are still held every Sunday morning. The citizens of Bacolor take pride in their rich culture which is why they rigorously unearthed the ornately carved wooden main and side altars which are now back to their original condition.
This heritage church was also a part of the main venue for the taping of the ABS-CBN primetime show “May Bukas Pa”.
Holy Rosary Parish
Fondly called by locals as “Pisambang Maragul” (Big Church), the Holy Rosary Parish stands in the center of Angeles City, Pampanga. The church has recently been renowned by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as a national historic site.
It stands as the most distinguishing landmark of the city today because of its historical connotation on how it was built. The church was constructed from 1877 to 1896 by the “Polo y Servicio” defined as the forced and unpaid labor of the Filipino native people by the Spanish colonial government.
Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church
This holy ground is also known as the Porac Church which is a 19th-century Baroque church located at Barangay Poblacion, Porac, Pampanga. The parish church is currently under the ecclesiastical province of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando. The main focal point of the façade is the rose window bearing an image of Saint Catherine of Alexandria rendered on stained glass.
Our Lady of Divine Grace Parish Church
Located in Mabalacat, Pampanga, this church was said to have been established in the year 1768, but a more realistic date would be around the early 1830s as the oldest bell in the parish is dated 1835, during the term of Fr. Jose Varela, the town’s first cura parocco.