7 Sanctified Stops: A guide for honoring Visita Iglesia

FEU Advocate
March 31, 2024 10:56

By Brit Charles V. Quevedo and Precious Nikole Tungpalan

Practicing the long-old Visita Iglesia is one of the traditions observed by Catholics through visiting at least seven different churches. So while classes are suspended during the week, it has given the devotees the chance to observe holiness and sanctity during the Lenten season, specifically this Holy Week. Here is a rundown of the churches you may visit for Visita Iglesia 2024, but also your reminder to strengthen your faith anytime and anywhere.

1. Our Lady of Fatima (FEU Chapel) 

Down Thy Happy Halls, Far Eastern University (FEU)'s very own chapel, finished by numerous artists such as Vicente Manansala and Carlos 'Botong' Francisco, can be your first church to head to. 

With FEU being the largest Art Deco Complex, some renowned artworks placed around the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel such as the La Pieta and Crucified Christ, not only your soul will be filled with joy but your eyes will be as well. 

Kickstarting your Visita Iglesia initially from Sampaloc, you will arrive at the chapel in no time with just a few steps from any building within the University.

2. Santísimo Rosario Parish

Santísímo Rosario Parish, or widely known as the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Chapel, was established in 1942. Just a few blocks away from FEU, the soon-to-be 82 years old chapel is widely visited by people around the area.

Not only is it open for Yellow Tigers, but it is also available for the public. Styled in art deco, the church can house numerous churchgoers within its two-storey architecture also enshrining the real image of Our Lady of La Naval de Manila at the main altar.

3. Saint Anthony Shrine

Still situated within the district, Saint Anthony Shrine is a church dedicated to the devotees of Saint Anthony of Padua, the patron saint for the recovery of lost items. Being one of the two Franciscan churches in Manila, it is also called "one of the twin churches." 

Adjacent to its twin, the Our Lady of Loreto Archdiocesan Shrine was established by Franciscans to administer Loreto during 1794. Although destroyed by the Battle of Manila, reconstruction happened shortly after the fight which resulted in its Romanesque structure with a touch of Gothic style.

4. San Sebastian Church (Minor Basilica of San Sebastian)

Another Minor Basilica in Manila is the San Sebastian Church which is termed as the ‘all-metal church.’ The church was strongly built with 1,527 tons of steel imported from Belgium which dates back to 1891.

Surrounded by old universities and the Malacañang Palace, the San Sebastian Church serves as a venue for worship and religious practices within the boundaries of the Quiapo district.

5. Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)

Just a kilometer away from San Sebastian Church is the Quiapo Church or the National Shrine of Jesus Nazareno. Also a Minor Basilica, this stands to be one of the most prominent churches in the Philippines with its enriching history and background. 

Under the parish of Saint John the Baptist, Quiapo church houses the 418-year old statue of the Black Nazarene which stands to be the centerpoint of Traslacion—the transfer of the miraculous image from Luneta Park back to Quiapo, attended by millions of Filipino devotees annually. 

With its unique twisted columns made of ivory and wood that stood tall for years, the church of Quiapo is termed to be one of Manila’s best landmarks as well. This Holy Week 2024, the Quiapo Church can surely entertain and accommodate people looking for peace in the middle of a busy district.

6. Binondo Church (Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz)

Heading to the west side of Quiapo, not only will you find the best Chinese foods in town but you will see the European Baroque-inspired Binondo church in the heart of the district. With its octagon-shaped Chinese-styled bell tower, the church is distinctive for its structure which is influenced by the culture and tradition of the nearby Chinatown

This Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 and is still open to churchgoers up to this date, even for this year’s Visita Iglesia.

7. The Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)

Intramuros, the famed ‘Walled City’, does not only barricade a portion of the Spanish colonization era as if it was frozen in time, but it is also where you can visit the famous Manila Cathedral. The Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception under the Archdiocese of Manila was initially built as a chapel made of nipa and bamboo in 1851. 

Currently, the Manila Cathedral remains erect with its Neo-romanesque facade with Byzantine motifs which warmly greet devotees upon entrance to the church. Since then, it has been a venue for conducting Papal Masses in the Philippines, such as the visits of Saint John Paul II in 1981, and Blessed Paul VI in 1970. 

For this year’s Semana Santa, the Manila Cathedral has opened its doors for attendees of Visita Iglesia. 

Relax and reflect — as we take the time to rest during Semana Santa 2024, let us also observe sacredness and solemnity that each of us shall practice. During this Visita Iglesia, remember that faith is just strengthened by the seven Catholic churches, but originally starts in your mind, heart, and soul. May we always find the reason for our fall, the purpose for our rise through the motive of being faithful wherever, whenever, and to whomever.