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Visita Iglesia 2024: Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 24,2024 - 08:00 AM

VISITA IGLESIA 2024 SAN NICOLAS: Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish

Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish at C. Padilla St., Cebu City, Cebu.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The tradition of visiting seven to 14 churches during Holy Week is known as the Visita Iglesia.

It is one of the religious and cultural practices among Catholics in the Philippines, where every Maundy Thursday to Good Friday, they participate in a pilgrimage to seven churches to dedicate time to prayer and reflection.

READ: Holy Week traditions: What is Visita Iglesia?

This Holy Week, CDN Digital has put together a list of seven churches in Cebu where people can seek moments of divine reflection and spiritual connection. Among them is the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino, which is situated along C. Padilla Street in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City.

Visita Iglesia 2024:  San Nicolas Church

The Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino, notably known as San Nicolas Church, is a significant Roman Catholic landmark in Cebu City. It honors St. Nicolas of Tolentino and carries a profound historical importance within the urban landscape.

Michael Bacus, who served as the parish’s sacristan mayor for eight years, reflects on how the church has been a testament to countless blessings and miracles, which he believed impacted the lives of many.

He shared that the church had served as a refuge for people facing illness and challenges, where they sought divine guidance and enlightenment.

“Dako gyud og tabang ang San Nicolas [Parish] sa mga tawo diri. Kato lang ako anak na dengue, ubos kaayo iya platelets unya nawalaan siya og pulso usa ka oras, pero with the help of prayers didto ni San Nicolas and ni Lord, na okay siya,” Bacus shared.

(San. Nicolas [Parish] has been a big help to the people here. Look, my child had dengue, my child’s platelets were low and we cannot find the child’s pulse for an hour, but with the help of prayers there in San Nicolas and to the Lord, my child is already okay.)

READ: Visita Iglesia 2024: Sto. Niño de Cebu Mactan Parish in Mactan

The Origin of San Nicolas Church

Visita Iglesia 2024: Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish

The facade of the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish.

The story of San Nicolas Church begins during the Spanish colonization period. Founded in 1565 as Villa de San Miguel by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, it was later renamed Villa Santisimo Nombre de Jesus in 1571.

The construction of the church started in 1787 and finished in 1804, with additional features like the bell tower, parochial house, and clock added over the years.

Unfortunately, it faced damage from a storm in 1915 and an earthquake in 1922. It was also used as a fortress during World War II and suffered bombing raids.

After the war, the present church was built thanks to the efforts of the Knights of Columbus and the leadership of Fr. Venerando Reynes.

READ MORE: Visita Iglesia 2024: San Fernando Rey Parish Church in Liloan

One local tale that San Nicolas Church holds is that it was where the Sto. Niño icon was found in 1565. However, several historians disagree. Research suggests the true discovery site was Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

With the development that has taken place in the Parish, Bacus expressed that he no longer saw himself serving any other parish besides San Nicolas Church.

According to Bacus, he considers the church as his ‘home’ and that it has become an integral part of his family.

“This is my first family. Mao gyud ni siya. Ang mo hold nako ani is ang Ginoo gyud. No need na lain nga simbahan. Ang importante our total commitment, and ania diri akoang commitment,” he said.

(This is my first family. This is the one. The one that will hold me here is really God. There’s no need to go to another church. What is important is our total commitment and here is where my commitment lies.)

The church hosts an annual procession during the Sto. Niño de Cebu feast in January, where the Sto. Niño from San Nicolas Church is temporarily transferred to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. This tradition dates back to Spanish military customs.

San Nicolas Church’s design features a courtyard, a welcoming entrance, and beautiful artwork.

Bacus mentioned that for those wishing to visit the church during Holy Week, confessionals would be available daily from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Additionally, there will be masses and other Holy Week activities.

Every September 10, the feast of St. Nicolas of Tolentino is celebrated, and in April, Barangay San Nicolas observes the Kaplag Buwad Festival or Kaplag Festival.

ALSO READ: Undiluted devotion: Exploring Manila’s centuries-old tradition of Visita Iglesia

How to get there?

To reach the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas Parish from Downtown Cebu City, there are two options available.

The first option is to take an 11A Jeepney heading to Inayawan. Once aboard the jeepney, simply inform the driver that you need to get off at the back of the church on C. Padilla St., and they will assist you accordingly.

Alternatively, you can also go to Gaisano Capital and catch a Kalesa bound for Duljo Fatima. When you board the Kalesa, let the driver know that you want to stop directly in front of the church, which is located across from the Old Pasil Fish Market.

For added convenience, if you’re unsure about where to disembark, you can always tell either the jeepney or Kalesa driver that you need to stop at San Nicolas Parish, and they will ensure you get off at the church without any hassle./ with data from The Old Churches 

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TAGS: Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, Cebu City, Visita Iglesia 2024

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