Caramoan’s St. Michael the Archangel Church marks 400 years

Caramoan’s St. Michael the Archangel Church marks 400 years

St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church celebrates 400 years of history on April 30. PHOTO FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF CACERES FACEBOOK PAGE

By CBCP News

May 1, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Traditional dances and songs mingled with Catholic rituals Tuesday as Caramoan islanders marked the 400th anniversary St. Michael the Archangel Church.

Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres celebrated the milestone with a Mass, along with native Caramoanon Bishop Manolo de los Santos of Virac and several other priests.

In his homily, Tirona emphasized the importance of remembering the “gift of faith” and celebrating it with gratitude.

He also urged the parishioners to look forward with greater hope and commitment for a stronger Catholic faith.

The archdiocese said on its Facebook page that a friar named Francisco dela Cruz initiated the mission in Caramoan Peninsula in Camarines Sur in 1619 by exploring a forested land and establishing community in a place called “Baluarte”.

Today, the church community has become one of the nation’s old active parishes, producing two prelates, including Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, and several priests.

Known for its centuries-old red bricks, the church is now a mother parish of four parishes: Sacred Heart Parish in Garchitorena, St. Dominic of Guzman Parish in Tabgon, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Guijalo, and St. Anthony of Padua in Bikal.

Before the Mass ended, Archbishop Tirona left the parish his gifts of four Balayong trees, which closely resemble the cherry blossoms, as a symbol of flourishing faith with emphasis on the care for creation.