08 January 2008

Sto. Rosario Church

The Santo Rosario Church in Pacita Philippines houses a large parish of migrants (people who are not residents of San Pedro, Laguna) with dynamic programs all year round. Built sometime in the 80s as a donation from the Campos family who developed the Pacita Complex in Laguna as a low-cost housing project with wide roads, Manila-based communication facilities, mass transport terminals, public and private schools, churches, malls and supermarkets, banks, restaurants, etc. which practically increased its real estate value hundred times and encouraged an influx of migrants from Manila and other towns.

Through the years, the migrant community helped built the church, donating materials and services to sustain its operation and construction to what it is today. The young, energetic community of students, workers and families actively participated in services, guest lectures, bisita iglesia (a pilgrimage as a community to other churches every holy week) and Christmas gift-giving.

This Christmas holiday, just like in the past, the church has focused on sharing. The essence of the holidays was magnified through joyful participation in raising funds to help people in the bilibid prison, homes for the aged, orphans and families in depressed areas within the community. Bright, creative ideas were used to encourage parishioners to bring gifts or make a donation. People donate by buying decorations for the Christmas trees. For each day of the 9-day novena of the Simbang Gabi (dawn masses) people brought specific items like clothes, toys, soaps, canned goods, rice, etc. which were later assembled into bags distributed to different beneficiaries.

The activity brought in a total of P150,000 (around $3,600) not counting the goods donated by people! Even with several beneficiaries, the fund still came with a balance of P50,000 to be used for the next project!

The Sto. Rosario church is a thriving art. From its architecture and embellishments (the decorations, the Christmas trees, the belen (the Nativity), parols (Christmas Star), lights, etc.) to the creative and sustainable ways a community see and care for their place of worship and their ability to live the essence of their faith. True art is a breathing, living force made by wise, caring and creative people. . .

NOTE: The present parish priest of the Sto. Rosario church is Reverend Father Mario Rivera.