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SAN VICENTE FERRER PARISH CHURCH

(CALULUT, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA)

PAST

SAN VICENTE FERRER PARISH CHURCH (CALULUT, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA) PAST San Vicente F errer

San Vicente Ferrer Parish’s main altar, 1950

SAN VICENTE FERRER PARISH CHURCH (CALULUT, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA) PAST San Vicente F errer
SAN VICENTE FERRER PARISH CHURCH (CALULUT, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA) PAST San Vicente F errer

PRESENT

PRESENT HISTORY The Parish of San Vicente Ferrer with its center in Brgy. Calulut was established

HISTORY

The Parish of San Vicente Ferrer with its center in Brgy. Calulut was established in 1914. Originally, it is composed of 28 barangays from as far as Anao in Mexico to the east, Dolores to the south, Telabastagan to the north and a number of villages of San Fernando on the west side along McArthur Highway.

Before its canonical erection in 1914, Calulut was under the jurisdiction of San Fernando Parish,

which is now the seat of the Metropolitan. The growing number of the faithful led to the establishment of more parishes which were originally under its parochial care of San Vicente

Ferrer by Archbishop Miguel O’Doherty, the Archbishop of Manila. (That time we were still

under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Manila). These were; St. Joseph Parish in Brgy. Malino, Mexico in 1941 and Our Lady of Remedies Parish in Brgy. Baliti in 1943, leaving eight

barangays under the parish. This was further whittled down to six barangays with the erection of St. Augustine Parish in 1965. The remaining barangays were Calulut (parish center), Sindalan, Dela Paz, Bulaon, San Rafael and Malpitic.

The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 and its aftermath affected the boundaries of the parish. A sizeable resettlement community was established in Brgy. Bulaon, prompting the creation of

the Personal Parish of the Good Shepherd in 1995. In 1996, the Lord’s Ascension Parish was

established in Dela Paz Sur, which included the western part of Sindalan. At present, there is a move, that Barangay San Rafael, Malpitic and Bulaon be joining the Parish of the Good Shepherd due to proximity. (Incidentally, this was experimented during the time when Fr. Fernando David was the vicar forane and it was well accepted by the three barangays. Actually, now Barangay Bulaon is already being catered to by the Parish of Good Shepherd ) Once this will be realized, the present parish boundaries will further shrink to include only the whole of Brgy. Calulut and the eastern portion of Brgy. Sindalan.

Most of the parishioners then were tenants and farm workers who toiled in the sugarcane fields. Others relied on small farming lots for their income. With the land reform program of the government in the 1970s, many tenants became small landowners. The construction of farm- to-market roads in the same period also facilitated the marketing of their products. However, during the economic crunch of the 1980s, the lots were eventually sold and transformed into fishponds (cultured fish farms) and poultry farms, with financing from big food processing companies. Other areas were converted into residential and industrial areas as well as memorial parks.

The shift in land use resulted in a significant change in the residents’ means of livelihood. A

huge number are now employed in manufacturing firms and commercial establishments. There are professionals working in hospitals, schools and government offices. Some have become small-scale entrepreneurs with businesses ranging from hardware to sari-sari stores.

FESTIVALS

San Vicente Ferrer’s feast day falls on the 5 th of April. In the past, it was customary to bring the images of all village patron saints to the parish church during the patronal fiesta and the Christmas nine-day Misa de Gallo. Most parishioners hiked from their village of origin; those who could afford took the gareta and calesa. These events were well-attended social and ecclesiastical affairs.

Aside from the patronal fiesta, secondary parish feast is the “Fiestang Corazon” (Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) on the 3 rd Saturday of October.(During Fr. Adrian P. Paule’s term, he

coincided the celebration of the Parish’ Foundation on the Fiestang Corazon. The real date of

the foundation anniversary is November 1, but since it is the Feast of all Saints and people are busy going to the cemetery to visit their loved ones, a decision was made to move the celebration.) According to tradition, the harvest season was the reason why the feast is

celebrated in thanksgiving on October instead of June, which is the feast’s liturgical month.

Unknown to many parishioners, Fr. Casto Ocampo, the promoter of the devotion wanted to

“Christianize” the celebration of harvest thanksgiving. And since the celebration is proximate to

the feast of Christ the King, he wanted to instill in the minds of the people, when Christ will

come again, it will be like the harvest thanksgiving. He assured the faithful that when the Lord will one day make all things new, He will grant mercy to all as He revealed and promised through the Sacred Heart.

PRIESTS

The First parish priest was Fr. Pedro Paulo S. Santos (1914-1917). He later became the Archbishop of Nueva Caceres in Bicol. The first church edifice was constructed through his efforts, with the facade personally designed by him.

Fr. Casto Ocampo (1917-1919) was from the town of Sta. Rita in Pampanga. He promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Cofradia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, and to him is attributed the annual celebration of Fiestang Corazon. He was followed by Rev. Fr. Felipe Romero (1919-1924) and Fr. Jacinto Vergara (1924-1930). The latter is still remembered for the ritual of “Tenieblas”* during the evening of Holy Wednesday before the Holy Mass.

Between 1930 and 1932, Fr. Artemio Pascual took charge of the parish. His brief tenure (due to ill health) is still remembered for bringing back many Aglipayans in Brgy. San Rafael to the Catholic faith. Fr. Pascual was succeeded by Fr. Getulio Inggal (1932-1937), whose term was marked by his struggle with the Socialist Party in church affairs. Fr. Lazaro Pineda (1937-1942) renovated the parish rectory. He was followed by Fr. Melencio Garcia (1942-1949), Fr. Pedro Capati (1949-1950) and Fr. Restituto Canda (1950-1951).

The parish priest who served longest was Msgr. Odon T. Santos (1951-1967). He is best remembered for his dream for Calulut to be a “city.” He renovated the chalet-style rectory into a two-storey building. He also built a permanent stage on the church patio and installed the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in front of the church. It was during his time that many mandated organizations were organized.

Msgr. Aquilino D. Ordonez (1967-1976) made his mark on the parish with two things: his passion for spiritual renewal and his concern for the economic development of the parishioners. The first was done through the Cursillo which became popular as a Christian

renewal movement. He allowed the use of the rectory as a Cursillo House where hundreds of

parishioners went through a “reconversion.” The second was achieved through vocational

classes such as dressmaking and electronics, farm demonstrations, animal husbandry home

gardening, piggery and poultry-raising. He also introduced the Samahang Nayon and the Green Revolution program to the farmers. All these were achieved with the assistance of various government agencies.

One parish priest whose memory is still very alive in the parish was Msgr. Gregorio L. Canlas (1976-1984). Fresh from travels abroad, Msgr. Canlas introduced innovations and promoted active lay participation in liturgical celebrations. His stay in the parish was marked with what is

now known as “The Golden Age of Kapampangan Liturgical Music.” His musical talents

produced many liturgical songs that are still very popular.

Msgr. Canlas encouraged Scripture reading and reflection by organizing bible study and bible sharing groups. With the help of the Daughters of Charity, he promoted the Visita Domicilliaria, in which neighborhood families were organized into groups of thirty. The main feature of the

Visita was the one-day visit of the image of the Miraculous Medal of the Virgin Mary to each member-family. In addition, each of the four puroks of Calulut were organized into a Coro, identified by a Marian title. Thus, Patad/Mabalas was known as “Fatima”, Centro was “Lourdes”, New Barrio was “Del Carmen”, and Pau was known as “Virgen de los Remedios”. Once a month, Msgr. Canlas would go the rounds of each Coro to celebrate the Holy Eucharist. In hindsight, it can be said that the experience was the parish’s precursor to building small

ecclesial communities.

Msgr. Canlas also emphasized catechetical instruction for the young. He organized volunteer catechists who were trained by professionals. He made catechetism classes a requirement in all elementary schools. High school students of Sindalan and Calulut had their catechism classes every Friday evening.

It must also be noted, that during the middle of his term that an experiment on team ministry was initiated in the archdiocese. Msgr. Eugenio S. Mercado Jr. became his team minister in

1978-1979.

Msgr. Roberto C. Mallari, D.D. even became a parish administrator from 1983 to 1984 during Msgr. Canlas’ legitimate absence in the parish.

Before he ended his term, Msgr. Canlas facilitated the purchase of an additional cemetery lot.

Msgr. Abelardo S. Basilio succeeded Msgr. Canlas from 1984 to 1991. It was during his incumbency that the construction of a new rectory and the renovation of the church building were initiated. Both projects became successful because of the support and cooperation of the Coros and concerned parishioners. The construction was about to finish when he was assigned to a new parish.

With the sustained cooperation of the people, Fr. Resurreccion G. Diwa (1991-1999) finished the construction. The facade of the present church was designed and constructed during his term.

The presence of two religious congregations, the St. Paul’s Novitiate (priests and brothers) and the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Ilanz has also helped in the pastoral development of the parish. With the phaseout of the Ilanz sisters in Calulut, the local congregation of the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Remedies took over the apostolic endeavor started by the former.

The Present parish priest, Fr. Adrian Paulo Paule, started his term in 1999 by reorganizing the Parish Pastoral Council and renovating the rectory. In the organizational chart, instead of the three ministries of Formation, Worship and Service, he created six apostolates, namely;

Catechetical, Youth, Family & Life, Bible, Liturgical and Social Apostolates. He believes that the three ministries are constitutive dimension of any apostolate in the church. But the biggest impact of Fr. Paule’s ministry so far is his pastoral vision that is open to lay participation. Since he began his term, parishioners have been experiencing creative and meaningful pastoral

activities leading towards the celebration of the parish’s 100th Foundation Anniversary.

Highlights of this renewed pastoral outlook is the construction of the new parish church and the drawing up of an integrated parish pastoral renewal plan (I) where lay participation has been truly emphasized. Now, already on its implementation, Parish Pastoral Plan II has also been drawn to continue what has been started and respond to the present needs of the parish. He envisioned the erection of a parochial school that will be built where the present church stands, the creation of a mini park, mortuary and new convent as part of the site development of the parish church lot. Together with the construction committee, they are now negotiating the resettlement of some families squatting in the church property.

Fr. Joselito H. Vital, though officially assigned as a university chaplain of Angeles University and a resident priest of Lourdes, Angeles City assists Fr. Paule as a guest priest in the parish especially during Sundays and his legitimate absence. Fr. Joselito was installed as the Parish Administrator of San Vicente Ferrer Parish. This took effect on February 10, 2007 upon the approval of the Sabbatical leave of Fr. Paule.