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Apalit church


History of Apalit Catholic Church
by Alejandro S. Camiling, CPA

With Father Pedro de Vergara as the first parish priest, the Apalit Catholic Community separated in 1597 from the Parish of Calumpit. The first Apalit church and convent was constructed during the time of Father Juan Cabello as parish priest in 1641 until 1645. Father Simon de Alarcia built another church made of concrete and tiles in 1854-1860 but it was destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1863. The present Neo-Classic church was built when Father Antonio Redondo was assigned as parish priest of Apalit in 1873 to 1886. Father Gallende wrote in "La Iglesia de Apalit" and I quote:

"Father Antonio Redondo, parish priest of Apalit from 1873 to 1886 laid the foundations of a new one in January 1876, following the plans of Don Ramon Hermosa, assistant officer to the minister of public works. The foreman was a certain Mariano Santos, a native of Guagua. After seven years of work, the church was finally completed in 1883. It was "the pride of Pampanga, an indelible tribute to Fr. Redondo and the people of Apalit."

It was officially inaugurated with solemn ceremonies held successively on June 28, 29 and 30 of the same year. The chronicler remarks that when there was no more sand or bricks, Fr. Redondo would ask the "fiscal" (sacristan) to go around town pealing the bells. Preceded by the town bands, he would lead the way towards the riverside with azafate on his head. Unquestioning, the whole town would follow him. In less than two hours, the masons would have enough sand for two months. "The whole town of Apalit helped either with monetary donations, personal service, or with their good wishes." The church measures 59 meters long and 14 meters wide. The painting was done by a native of Apalit, an industrious pupil of Alberoni. The church possesses the qualities of good construction: "solidity, capacity, light and artistic beauty."

The towers were completed under the guidance of Rev. Toribio Fanjul in 1896. In 1989, a major church renovation was initiated by Msgr. Rustico G. Cuevas.