St. Anthony de Padua Church of Barotac Nuevo
One of Iloilo’s simple yet classic churches, the stone church of St. Anthony de Padua Parish of Barotac Nuevo has been a key witness in many of the town’s significant events. Ever since the town had been declared as a pueblo in 1811, independent as a former part of Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo church stood firmly in the heart of the town, serving as their citadel of faith. Of stones, brick, and corals, the facade of the church has been beautifully preserved. The whole church is now being renovated.
Classic Ilonggo Church
As with many Iloilo churches, the St. Anthony de Padua church is made of native materials – stones, bricks and corals. Simple and elegant in design, the facade of the church features sharp angles, no sculptures, only brick walls as the main component of the architecture. What’s interesting is that the central facade at the top used to be curve; it was later repaired or modified making it now in triangular shape, thus giving the image of the church with sharp angles.
It has two belfries, none of which is taller than the central facade. Comprising only of two floors, the belfries may be considered one of the shortest in the province (given the popularity of belfries almost kissing the heavens, during the earlier times). The belfry in the right side of the church is now topped with a steel bell house with modern design which was completed in 1966.
The church’s facade is decorated by three images – Jesus and Mary (the original images as seen in 1893), and that of St. Anthony de Padua which is a later addition. The position of the statue of St. Anthony used to be a middle window in the second floor of the facade, now closed with cement.
Restoration or Renovation
Historians and heritage conservationists may gawk at the massive renovation of the church. With the leadership of the parish and the support of the locals, the church will transcend from its simpleness into a majestic house of worship.
Declared as a National Historic Landmark, the renovation of the church is now backed both by public and private donations.
The rear of the church is now capped with a beautiful dome which reminds me of Florence’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica.
Inside, major renovation is now taking place. The area where the altar sits is now completely sealed. But standing on the second floor (which used to be a choir loft), one may immediately notice the grandness of the altar in progress. I’ll definitely visit this church once the altar is complete and update this page soon.
The main aisle columns were eliminated- instead, the side posts were reinforced to support the main trusses. A new ceiling was installed and granite tiles covered the floor.
The belfries will also be renovated – new bell houses will be added to the top of both bell towers.
The convent was constructed in 2002.Other structures included in the renovation plan are perpetual adoration chapel, parish hall, altar boys quarter, botika San Antonio, parking area, and the catholic cemetery (cemetery chapel, memorial park, new niches, bone boxes).
Barotac Church: Then and Now
St. Anthony De Padua
So simple and resounding St. Anthony’s teaching of the Catholic Faith, so that the most unlettered and innocent might understand it, that he was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. He was declared saint, less than a year after his death in 1231.
He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared, and is commonly referred to today as the “finder of lost articles.” Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.
Devotion to St. Anthony de Padua is popular in the Philippines, many churches and parishes are named after him.Tags: Barotac Nuevo, Church, Visita Iglesia