NHCP turns over restored Bulacan’s oldest church to diocese
The newly restored Saint John the Baptist Church in Calumpit, Bulacan. COURTESY OF FR. JOSE LUIS DR PEREZ
By Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban and Mye Christle L. Rañola
June 25, 2019
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines turned over the newly restored centuries-old St. John the Baptist Church to the Diocese of Malolos.
Monday’s ceremony, which included the unveiling of a marker, was part of NHCP’s project to restore Bulacan’s first and oldest church, located in Calumpit town.
The event was highlighted with a Mass presided over by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao and apostolic administrator of Malolos.
NHCP Executive Director Ludovico Badoy stressed the need to take care of the country’s historical items and places “as part of our cultural heritage”.
“It is a blessing that the Church of Calumpit, a historic church is seen as an inheritance to the people that cannot be replaced,” Badoy said.
Started in 2015, the restoration efforts include the retrofitting and adding structural support to the facade and belfry of the church, which was declared a diocesan shrine in 2013.
The project also refined the structure’s unique portal murals featuring, according to its architectural profile, the life of St. John the Baptist and the Baptism of Jesus.
Bishop Ongtioco assured the diocese’s continued collaboration with cultural agencies and organizations to preserve much of Bulacan’s cultural heritage.
Among the other churches in Bulacan identified as heritage structures are Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Parish in Bulakan, San Francisco de Asis Parish in Meycauayan City; St. James the Apostle Parish in Plaridel; St. Monica Parish in Angat, San Isidro Labrador Parish in Pulilan, and La Purisima Concepcion Parish in Sta. Maria.
The turnover was held as the community culminated its month-long preparations for the town fiesta.
On June 23, thousands of devotees joined the “Libad Festival,” honoring St. John the Baptist and highlighted by the traditional fluvial procession along the river.