THE HISTORY OF STO. NIÃ‘O PARISH
"The rising of the majestic Sto. Niño Shrine to its present stature is symbolic of unity, cooperation, and sacrifices of the community."
THE HISTORY OF STO. NIÑO PARISH AN OVERVIEW OF THE CHURCH'S EARLY HISTORY AND FOUNDATION
The Sto. Niño parish was canonically erected 50 years ago - on what had been predominantly an illegal settlers' community and a relocation settlement for the homeless uprooted from other sectors in Metro Manila. The Sto. Niño came to Bago Bantay when it was mired in poverty, crime and vice.
The original statue of Sto. Niño de Bago Bantay in its beaten silver vestment
Bago Bantay's patron found for His first home a "barong barong" chapel and His apostle, the parish priest, who slept at the community health center and ate his meals at a different house every day.
Msgr. Miguel P. Nuguid, the first parish priest of Sto. NiĂąo
The old chapel demolished in 1967 to make room for a bigger chapel
TÂ he month of January holds a significant event for the people of Bago Bantay, especially to its Christian Catholic community.
The first churchgoers in the 1960s
Â It signifies the memorable and historical rising of the majestic Sto. NiĂąo Shrine, which to its present stature is symbolic of Â unity, cooperation, industry, and sacrifices of the community.
L ong before Sto. Niño Parish’s canonical erection, Bago Bantay was first under the jurisdiction of San Pedro Bautista Parish in San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City. By 1957, its jurisdiction was then transferred to the Parish of Sta. Rita in PHILAM, Quezon City, and by 1961 to Christ the King Parish in Project 7, Quezon City under Msgr. Arturo Mendiola.
First finish of the Sto. Niño church in the 1960s
Map showing Sto. NiĂąo's current location
Eucharistic celebration in the 1960s
T he people of Bago Bantay, in their
ardent desire for spiritual strength, Retablo Mayor in the '70s banded together and built an improvised wooden chapel where they can attend Mass every Sunday, by assembling an altar using a piece of white cloth and a wooden table beside a resident’s house where mass could be held. This makeshift chapel was then named after the Mother of Perpetual Help.
In order to hold mass, the early parishioners had to fetch a priest from the San Jose Seminary (now Quezon City General Hospital) as early as four oâ€™ clock in the morning and went around the neighborhood inviting the residents to come and celebrate with Rev. Fr. Celso Sta. Maria.
San Jose Seminary 1951-65
Father Celso Santa Maria with a caroling group
By 1962, the chapel was renamed in honor of the Sto. Niño due to the insistent request of the parishioners from the different barrios (now barangays). However, in 1964, the chapel was destroyed by typhoon “Didang” prompting the settlers to move temporarily to the Army compound (formerly Navy Station) at Nueva Ecija street, and attend mass at Christ the King Parish in Project 7, Quezon City.
At a carvival in EDSA with Fr. Celso Sta. Maria
Legion of Mary meeting
Celebrating mass in the 1960s Awarding during 1969
The parishioners, with a population of 25, 625, saw the light in their spiritual search for God: to have a parish priest in their own community. It was their prayer which was answered by the appointment of the late Msgr. Miguel P. Nuguid as the first parish priest and Vicar Forane Upon his arrival, Msgr. Nuguid made an appeal to build a new church to replace the old chapel which was too small and dilapidated in order to meet the increasing number of parishioners who attend Mass and perform other religious services. Families, individuals, and other church organization members responded. The leaders of the church as spearheaded by Msgr. Nuguid himself immediately put into action their vision of building a new church through executing different fund raising events. Immediately thereafter, the first church was constructed and finished. In the year 1969, it was adjudged â€œThe Most Beautiful Church in Quezon Cityâ€?.
From a shanty chapel to Â "the most beautiful church in Quezon City", taken in 1969
During the 1970’s, through the initiative of Msgr Nuguid, the entire Catholic community of Bago Bantay headed for an even bigger project. They embarked to a higher scale of fund raising campaign. It was during this time the plan for a construction of a permanent church of Sto. Niño emanated.
L&R: Newspaper articles on the construction of the new Sto. Niño shrine
Jointly, the “Mayflower Queen Contest” and the “Prinsesita ng Sto. Niño” were launched to speed up the accumulation of funds estimated at two and a half million pesos. Fortunately with God’s help and with the sponsorship of the parish organizations as well as the Sto. Niño Parochial School, which was already in existence by that time, the fund raising affairs ended with tremendous success. In 1976, in addition to its previous successes, Sto. Niño church became the seat of the newly created Vicariate composed of seven parishes.
On March 26, 1978, Easter Sunday, the cornerstone was laid by Msgr. Bienvenido Lopez, D.D., auxiliary bishop of Manila. Construction of the new shrine then began until the death of Rt. Rev. Msgr. Miguel P. Nuguid, D.P. on March 3, 1981.Â