Holy Week was a busy ride for me. I had to fulfill so much church obligations and commitments and not to mention my very first time to be part of the Live Via Crucis in Cavite City. It was truly an exhausting yet a spiritually rewarding experience for me. It was a well-spent Holy Week I must say. Few weeks prior to Holy Week, I was grateful enough to be part of a Pilgrimage Tour in Tarlac. The tour was organized by our Parish church which aims to visit seven different churches in Tarlac.
Without any further ado, here are the churches we visited in Tarlac;
Santo Niño Parish Church (Bamban, Tarlac)
Our first stop is the Santo Niño Parish Church in Bamban, Tarlac. It is said that the church was built in 1936 based on the Roman Numerals written on top most portion of its facade and despite being an eight-decade old church, Santo Niño Parish is seemingly well-maintained. It probably went through a series of renovation too. It features an interesting facade adorned with simple details and an image of Santo Niño in the center. It also has a twin belfry. The church is situated on a very spacious area near the Santo Niño Academy with a little landscape in front that features a replica of the Golgotha. (READ MORE: Santo Niño Parish Church)
San Nicolas De Tolentino Parish (Capas, Tarlac)
We headed next to San Nicolas De Tolentino Parish in Capas, Tarlac. According to the ClaretianPublications, the parish was established in 1776. The church, as what the name connotes, is under the patronage of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, the Patron of Poor Souls in Purgatory. Interestingly, the church was declared as the Diocesan Shrine of San Nicolas De Tolentino this year (April 2018). The church also houses a relic of San Nicolas De Tolentino which was sent from Rome Italy. (READ MORE: Diocesan Shrine of San Nicolas De Tolentino)
Monasterio De Tarlac (San Jose, Tarlac)
Our third stop is an amazing pilgrim site in Tarlac. Located in the town of San Jose is the 278 Hectare of land where the Monasterio De Tarlac is situated. The monastery is located on top of Mount Resurrection. It features a huge 30foot tall statue of the Risen Christ. The monastery has many chapels within the area but one of them famously houses a relic of a True Cross which was enshrined on January of 2007. The area is indeed a relaxing haven where visitors can warmly embrace the beauty of the Zambales Mountain Range. It also houses retreat centers and other attractions. (READ MORE: Monasterio de Tarlac)
San Sebastian Cathedral (Tarlac city)
Our fourth stop is the San Sebastian Cathedral which is also known as the Tarlac Cathedral. The Cathedral which is dedicated to Saint Sebastian is considered as one of the oldest churches in Tarlac. The first church was foudned in 1686 but has become an independent parish in 1727. The architectural style is considered as Neo Gothic with simple facade adorned with a series of colorful stained glass windows. The entrance porch features an image of their patron saint (San Sebastian). The exterior might be simple but the interior of the church is superb. The altar is where the most Gothic elements can be found. (READ MORE: San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City)
San Josemaria Escriva Parish (Gerona, Tarlac)
The fifth church we visited is located in Gerona, Tarlac. The church is dedicated to a newly canonized Saint, San Josemaria Escriva, a Roman Catholic priest from Spain who initiated Opus Dei. Compare to the churches we visited earlier, San Josemaria Escriva Parish is relatively new. The parish was canonically established in February of 2003 but the construction of the church started in 2010. It was also recently declared as the as national shrine. The declaration of the Diocesan Shrine of San Josemaria Escriva took place in February of 2014. The church houses a first class relic of St Josemaria Escriva (a tooth). (READ MORE: Diocesan Shrine of San Josemaria Escriva)
Saint Catherine of Alexandria (Gerona, Tarlac)
Located on the same town of Gerona is the church dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The church was established in 1894 and underwant a series of major renovation. The current church features a stunning facade with a spacious garden outside accompanied with huge trees and relaxing atmosphere. The facade highlights huge stained glass windows with images depicting Saint Catherine. The interior is equally beautiful with stunning altar and sanctuaries.
Saint Rose of Lima Parish (Paniqui, Tarlac)
Our last stop is a parish in Paniqui, Tarlac. The church was established in 1804 by the Dominicans under the patronage of Saint Rose of Lima. It is adorned with simple facade which actually reminds me of the Saint Rose of Lima Parish in Cabangan Zambales (Check: Saint Rose of Lima in Cabangan, Zambales), except for the huge and beautifully carved image of Saint Rose in its center belfry. The interior features a charming altar adorned with intricate details and stunning stained glass windows on its walls.
Saint Raymund Nonnatus Church (Moncada, Tarlac)
Photo Credit : Explora.PH
Sagrada Familia Parish (Gerona Tarlac)
The church houses the altar which is a slab of the Papal table used during the 2015 Papal Mass held in Luneta.
Photo Credit: Explore.ph
Santa Faustina Of The Divine Mercy Parish (Paniqui, Tarlac)
A Parish church dedicated to St. Faustina Kowalska of Poland can be found at Barangay Canan.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
In this small town of Ramos, located in the heart of Poblacion Center stands a magnificent structure, the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.The St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church was elevated into a Shrine Category on October 3, 2004 by virtue of the Decree of Elevation by the Diocese of Tarlac.
It was truly a spiritually rewarding pilgrimage tour for all of us. I am going to create separate entries for each church for my #PilgrimageToTarlac series.