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On ‘San Pedro Macati’ and the Jesuits

03:38 AM May 09, 2016

This refers to Prof. Ambeth Ocampo’s Holy Week column (“Visita Iglesia,” Opinion, 3/23/16), where he suggested some churches in Metro Manila for the traditional Visita Iglesia, which is usually done on Holy Thursday after the evening rites.

The good professor also asked how the church of “San Pedro Macati” was taken over from the Franciscans by the Jesuits who built the church in 1620.

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As we know, the different regions of the country were assigned to specific religious orders in the first years, obviously to facilitate administration and, perhaps, to lessen competition and stress as much as possible. General guidelines were given and each group went to work: roughly, the Dominicans in the north, the Franciscans in the Tagalog region all the way to Bicol, the Augustinians and Recollects in most of the Visayas, the Jesuits in parts of the Tagalog region and Mindanao. Other groups, as they arrived, were assigned areas taken from the original four.

Even so, soon after the original arrangement was laid out, adjustments were made: for example, the Jesuits took over parts of Batangas, which the Franciscans were administering; the town of Balayan was a case in point.

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Fr. Juan de Oliver, OFM, evangelized there, where he must have written the first catechism on the Ten Commandments (from which I took the topic for my doctoral thesis on the Ten Commandments in 1978). His whole work was published by the Jesuits a few years ago.

But then the Franciscans also took over the town of Bay in Laguna from the Jesuits, when, perhaps, the whole of Laguna was assigned to them. It is interesting how Calamba was skipped and remained with the Dominicans, while the Franciscans had most of the towns around the lake, on to Tayabas (now Quezon) and to Bicol, skirting Cavite and Batangas that were already mostly under the Jesuits. (I do not have my sources, but it could be that the Dominicans took over Calamba later.)

Going back to San Pedro Makati: When the Franciscans established the parish of Sta. Ana de Sapa, the first parish outside of Intramuros, in 1578, they built Sta. Ana de Sapa Church (now simply Sta. Ana Church) at the end of Herran (now Pedro Gil) Street; “de Sapa” was used then because the church was erected by the banks of a small tributary of the nearby Pasig River.

San Pedro Makati, Mandaluyong, Pandacan and Paco were visitas of Sta. Ana, which meant that the Franciscans were in charge of the spiritual needs of the people of those places, until a different arrangement could be made. Considering how small the religious groups were at that time, unbelievably they managed, driven by the Spirit of the Lord, no doubt.

Lastly, with the indulgence of Professor Ocampo, may I add that “Poblacion de Macati” is not translated into Old Makati. The poblacion only refers to the “populated” part of the place, that is, like what is also referred to in most towns to this day as the “centro.”

—ANTONIO MARIA ROSALES, OFM, [email protected]

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TAGS: Dominicans, Franciscans, Holy Thursday, holy week, Jesuits, Metro Manila, Prof. Ambeth Ocampo, Visita Iglesia
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