After lunch at a MacDonald’s outlet in Sta. Cruz, Jandy and I went on a walking tour of 3 of the churches in the vicinity. Fittingly, the first church we visited was the nearby National Shrine of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, more popularly known as Sta. Cruz Church. This church was founded by Jesuits in 1608 to serve Chinese converts. Its courtyard was the scene of the formal return of Manila to Spain on May 31, 1764, after Britain’s 20-month occupation.
|National Shrine of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament|
This church, built and administered by the Jesuits up to 1768, was damaged during the June 3, 1863 earthquake and rebuilt in 1868 by Fr. Agustin de Mendoza. It was again damaged during the July 19, 1880 earthquake and destroyed during the fighting in 1945. The church was rebuilt in 1957.
|The church interior|
The church’s characteristically Baroque façade has Ionic columns that divide the first 2 levels into 3 parts. It also has 3 semicircular arched entrances at the first level, a centrally located rose window flanked by semicircular arched windows at the second level, and a pediment with an undulating raking cornice and a centrally located statued niche with a broken pediment.
On the church’s right is a 6-storey domed bell tower. The church’s interior has a mosaic altar background done by Elizabeth Chan. The statue of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) brought from Spain prior to 1768, was canonically erected in this church in 1743.
National Shrine of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: Plaza Sta. Cruz, Manila. Tel: (632) 733-0245 to 46. Fax: (632) 733-0239.