It’s Holy Thursday today and people all around the Philippines including the “generals” of GenSan have started the annual Lenten tradition commonly called “Visita Iglesia”.
According to Pinoy traditions, Catholics must visit at least 7 churches to represent the 7 Great Basilicas of Rome, a practice which started during the time of the beginnings of Christianity to venerate the Blessed Sacraments.
Here in the Philippines, each visit would require a contemplation of the 14 Stations of the Cross, at two (2) stations per church.
Some would go to as many as 14 churches, with each church representing one station.
Unfortunately, General Santos City does not have that much number of churches. As of last count, the Tuna Capital only has 6 churches and parishes, excluding chapels. To make up for the lacking church, the Catholic faithful include the small Chapel inside the Novitiate Compound as part of the “Visita Iglesia” since masses are being said there every Sunday.
Here then are Catholic Churches of GenSan (plus one chapel) which you could visit for your observance of the “Visita Iglesia”.
- Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church. This is actually GenSan’s oldest church, older than the 50 year-old Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish Church. Located at Lagao Kanan, Barangay Lagao, the church is under the Diocese of Marbel and run by Diocesan priests. The structure has not changed much for the past 30 years or so, just a few minor adjustments were done to fix the rotting parts plus a couple of major paint jobs.
- Santo Nino Parish Church. Located at Barangay Bula, the original home of GenSan’s major fishing industry, this parish church is only 31 years old. Over the years however, due to the magnanimity of its parishioners, who are among the city’s famed fishing magnates, the parish was to able to build, aside from its sail-like designed-church, a separate building for the convent. Look for its replica of the Image of Sto. Nino which is encased in a small wooden boat.
- Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish Church. One of the most beautiful, if not the most beautifully-redesigned house of worship in South Central Mindanao, this one turned 50 last year and is under the care of the Passionist Fathers. Based on Architect Michael Ang’s idea, the renovated church is more spacious and well-illuminated. Strategically located at the heart of downtown GenSan, the best time to visit it for your Visita Iglesia is at night when some of its huge chandeliers and the sky-blue lights of the altar are switched on.
- St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church. This parish is less than 10 years old and yet its huge structure now dominates the skyline of Purok Malakas, owing to the generosity of its parishioners who helped build it from scratch from the time of Fr. Art Pancho, a diocesan priest. It sits at a donated lot along Yumang Street and could be reached by taking a Purok Malakas jeep which could drop you at the corner of Yumang Street where you could take a small tricycle (or tricykad) again.
- Holy Cross Parish Church. A church designed to look like the Bishop’s Miter, this one is administered by the Passionist Congregation. Located at Barangay Calumpang and just across its Retreat Center, the church has the widest structure and most spacious interiors among the churches in GenSan. It’s then safe to say that it is the largest Catholic church in GenSan.
- Our Lady of Fatima Parish Church. The baby of the group, this church is less than a year old since its Canonical Erection last year. Strategically located in a 2-hectare lot at Barangay Fatima by the local government of GenSan, it is still undergoing construction.
- St. Paul of the Cross Novitiate Chapel. Due to the lack of churches in GenSan, this chapel has since time immemorial been part of any family’s Lenten Visita Iglesia. It sits inside the 7-hectare coconut tree-dotted lot of the Passionists along the National Highway where their Novitiate is.
The open-air structure of the Holy Cross Novitiate Chapel along the National Highway
With this note, allow us here at GenSan News Online Mag to greet everyone a blessed and meaningful Holy Week!
Other chapels in GenSan which you could visit are the Sta. Cruz Chapel in Silway beside the Silway Bridge,;the Bo. Obrero Chapel in Bulaong Avenue; the Upper Labangal Chapel in Upper Labangal; the Samaria Cursillo House Chapel along Nunez Street, Purok Malakas, Brgy San Isidro.
Must visit too is the Our Lady of Manaoag Chapel of the Dominican Fathers along Nunez Street Extension, across Malesido HOmes, Barangay San Isidro. Then there is the Fr. Pio Chapel, inside Las Villas de Dadiangas, along Mabuhay Road, Barangay San Isidro, too.
And yes! If you have time to go out of town for a more spiritual setting, head off to the hills of Landan, Polomolok and visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Mt. Matutum Trappistine Monastery. For more info, CLICK HERE.