LAS PIÑAS CITY, August 22, 2014— San Ezequiel Moreno y Díaz lived long enough in the Philippines to consider himself a Filipino. On August 19, the newest church in Metro Manila was dedicated to this Spanish Recollect friar who once served as parish priest in Las Piñas in the 19th century.
The Santuario de San Ezequiel Moreno, located on the C5 Extension Road, Las Piñas City, in what is known as the Old Town Las Piñas Historical Corridor, was inaugurated on August 19, the feast of its titular patron, San Ezequiel.
Designed by Claude Edwin Andrews, it features architectural elements from the Spanish colonial times with a modern twist.
The 700-seater Santuario is a column-free edifice, giving churchgoers an unobstructed view from any point within the church. It has stained glass doors and windows providing cross ventilation and an airy ambience.
The interiors by Joey Amistoso features a Spanish Baroque retablo showing the Crucified Christ. The tabernacle at the center niche complements the image of San Ezequiel on the right niche and St. Joseph on the left. Topping the Crucified Christ is the sun-rayed Holy Spirit in the form of a dove over Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso.
The retablo and the entire sanctuary area are enhanced by a grand naturally and artificially lighted dome with insignias of the four evangelists placed on four corners. Beyond the retablo wall are two side altars dedicated to Filipino saints, San Lorenzo Ruiz and San Pedro Calungsod.
“Patron of Cancer Patients”
A museum dedicated to San Ezequiel Moreno, who served as a parish priest in Las Piñas from 1876 to 1879, acquaints churchgoers with the life and times of the saint popularly known as the “Patron of Cancer Patients”.
Santuario de San Ezequiel Moreno, which was started in May 2011, is one of the church projects of Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG).
Villar SIPAG also inaugurated the San Vicente Ferrer Church in Cagayan de Oro City in 2013, and Saint Pio Church in Savannah City, Iloilo early this year.
The following churches are also slated for completion: a church in Vista City, Alabang and a Swiss-inspired church at Crosswinds in Tagaytay.
Churches will also be constructed in other parts of Luzon: Camella Provence in Malolos, Bulacan; Maia Alta in Antipolo, Rizal; Camella Tierra Nevada in General Trias, Cavite; and Plantacion Meridienne in Lipa, Batangas.
Other churches will also rise in Vista Land communities in the Visayas particularly at the Azienda in Cebu.
The said projects are under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of Vista Land. (Raymond A. Sebastián)