The Parish of the Last Supper of Our Lord (PLSOL) of the Diocese of Paranaque, had a successful Lenten Pilgrimage last Saturday, March 22, 2014. Led by our parish priest, Rev. Fr. Angel Sanchez, more than 300 parishioners participated in this year's Visita Iglesia in seven (7) Pilgrim Churches of Bataan.
Our trip also included a trip to Mount Samat National Shrine or Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour), a historical shrine located near the summit of Mount Samat in the town of Pilar, Province of Bataan, in the Republic of the Philippines. The memorial shrine complex was built to honor and remember the gallantry of Filipino and American soldiers who fought during World War II. Consisting of a Colonnade and the large memorial cross, the park was commissioned in 1966 by then president Ferdinand Marcos, himself a war veteran, for the 25th Anniversary of WWII. The White Memorial Cross stands as a remembrance to the soldiers who fought and lost their lives in the Battle of Bataan. The shrine complex also includes a war museum with a wide array of collections from paintings of the Philippine Heroes, to armaments used by the Filipino, American and Japanese forces during the battle.
1. St. Catherine of Siena, Samal Bataan (Holy Mass, 1st and 2nd Station)
It is the most intact “convent” of all Bataan’s churches. The parish was entrusted to the Dominicans in 1596. The church was destroyed during the Dutch invasion and the Philippine Revolution. Dutch invaders attacked in April 1647. But the local garrison of Pampanga under the command of Alejo Aguas repelled the Dutch forces. The church and the convent were ruined during the invasion. In 1896, the church was burned by the Katipuneros to drive out their enemies in the convent. The church and convent was rebuilt in 1903.
2. St. Dominic de Guzman Parish, Abucay Bataan (3rd and 4th Station)
Abucay Church is a National Historic Landmark. The spiritual ministration of Abucay was entrusted to the Dominicans in 1588. It is significant because a fierce battle between the Dutch invaders and the Kapampangan defenders was fought in the area surrounding the church on June 23, 1647. Nearly two hundred Kapampangans were put to death, and fory others, together with Spanish alcalde mayor and two Dominican priests, were taken prisoners to Batavia (Jakarta). The printing press of Tomas Pinpin operated in Abucay.
3. St. Joseph Cathedral, Balanga Bataan (5th and 6th Station)
Balanga became independent parish in 1739. The Balanga Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Balanga Bataan. Unfortunately, they layered the façade with new bricks thereby altering the character of the church.
4. Our Lady of the Pillar Parish, Pilar Bataan (7th and 8th Station)
Pilar Church is another well-preserved adobe church structure of Bataan with its belfry located on top of the main façade. Pilar Church was made an independent vicariate on March 10, 1801.
5. St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Orion Bataan (9th and 10th station)
The best preserved “retablo” in the province of Bataan. The marker outside the church mentions that Orion became independent from Abucay in 1667. The church was damaged during the 1852 earthquake and repaired in 1854. Cayetano Arellano, the first Filipino chief justice is from Orion. Francisco Balagtas, author of Florante at Laura, also lived in the town from 1842 to 1862.
6. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Orani Bataan (11th and 12th Station)
The “Nuestra Señora del Santo Rosario de Orani” Church was also declared as a “Dambana ng Paglalakbay” (Pilgrim Shrine) on August 22, 2004 by then Bishop of Balanga and now Archbishop of Lingayen Socrates B. Villegas. The Roman Catholic Church of Orani, declared as an independent parish on April 21, 1714. The church houses the miraculous image of “La Virgen Milagrosa de Orani” and beside the church a museum dedicated for the patroness collection of jewels and dresses.
7. St. Peter Verona Parish, Hermosa Bataan (13th and 14th Station)
Long ago, the people of Hermosa who live near the river found a boat with a statue of a saint inside it. They found out that it was St. Peter of Verona and this is the reason why the said saint became the patron of this community. The image of St. Peter of Verona is very unusual since this is the only image of a saint with a large knife stuck to his head symbolizing his martyrdom.