San Fernando de Dilao Parish

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The San Fernando de Dilao Parish (Tagalog: Simbahan ng San Fernando de Dilao ng Paco; Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Fernando de Dilao), also known as Paco Church, is a parish church located in the district of Paco in the city of Manila, Philippines,[1] honoring the Castillian king saint Fernando III de Castilla y León. From February 7, 2012 to April 9, 2014, the parish was used as the pro-cathedral of Manila, during the structural renovations of the Manila Cathedral. The church inside is notable for its Romanesque-Byzantine interior with recently Italian Baroque styled altar, most notably the Latin inscriptions similar in style to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

The church is currently administered by its parish priest, the very Rev. Msgr. Rolando R. de la Cruz, Template:Post-nominals. In addition, the church provides active medical, dental, and ENT charitable services for its poor parishioners within the community.


In 1580, the first church built was made of nipa and bamboo and was originally dedicated to Our Lady of Purification. Fray Juan de Garrovillas of the Franciscan order has rebuilt the church using stone materials in 1599-1601. The neighbourhood's name Dilao refers to a local shrub once used to dye textiles yellow (current Filipino orthography: diláw, "yellow").

In October 3, 1603, the church was attacked and burned by Chinese during riots. It was repaired in 1606 and rebuilt with stone materials by Don Francisco Gómez de Arellano. Invading troops from the Kingdom of Great Britain burnt down the church in 1762 during their occupation of the city as part of the Seven Years' War. In 1791, a temporary church made of bamboo and nipa was erected.

Fray Joaquín Segui constructed the stone convento in 1793-1794 which was repaired in 1854. In 1880, this convent was ruined by an earthquake. Fr. Bernardo dela Concepción began the construction of a new church in 1809 and completed in 1814. It was called Antigua Iglesia de Paco ("Old Paco Church") while Fr. Miguel Richar built the belfry from 1839-1841. Earthquakes again destroyed the church in 1852 and 1880.

Fray Gilberto Martín began the reconstruction of the church in 1881. When this was about to be completed, a typhoon in 1892 partly destroyed the church. In 1896, Fray Gilberto completed the reconstruction work.

On February 5, 1899, the church was bombed and completely burned during the Philippine–American War. Belgian priests of the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae took possession of the burnt church in 1909 and in the following year, Fr. Raymundo Esquinet worked for the construction of a temporary concrete church at a site near the old church's ruins. In 1924, Fr. José Billie proposed a newer and much larger church, and the cornerstone of the present church was laid in August 1931.[2]

On February 7, 2012, the church was designated as pro-cathedral of the Manila until structural renovations on the Manila Cathedral were completed on April 9, 2014.

A notable longstanding custom of the church today is the devotion to Nuestro Santo Padre Jesús del Sepulcro. Also known as Santo Entierro, the image is a statue of the dead Christ encased in a special wood and glass casket, and is a common icon in Filipino churches.


The church facade, flanked by tall, twin belfries, possess a Neoclassical style of architecture. The terraced, arcaded portico provides a transitional entrance to the church. The Corinthian columns on the first and second levels of the church plus the triangular pediment give the façade the classic character.[2]


Diocesan Parish Priests

Name Year started-ended Present Assignment
Most Rev. Teodoro "Ted" Bacani, DD, STD 1984 Bishop Emeritus of Diocese of Novaliches
Rev. Msgr. Domingo "Roly" Cirilos, PC 1996-2010 Retired Priest of Archdiocese of Manila
Rev. Msgr. Rolando "Rolly" Dela Cruz, PC, VG 2010–Present Past Vicar General of Archdiocese of Manila


Name Present Assignment
Rev. Fr. Carlo P. Del Rosario Parochial Vicar/Asst. Parish Priest
Rev. Fr. Wilfredo C. Talavera Parochial Vicar
Rev. Fr. Celso Alcantara Parochial Vicar
Rev. Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM Attached Priest


See also


  1. Archived copy.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alarcon, Norma (1991). Philippine Architecture During the Pre-Spanish and Spanish Periods. Manila: Santo Tomas University Press. ISBN 978-971-506-040-0. 

External links