Sikatuna Village, Quezon City: Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy

01 1951 Saint Joseph Archdiocesan Shrine & 1955 Parish of the Holy Sacrifice
1951 Saint Joseph Archdiocesan Shrine & 1955 Parish of the Holy Sacrifice

The spiritual center for the Catholics of Sikatuna Village is the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, on Madasalin Street. Madalasin means to be “prayerful,” which is apt to be the location of the church. The Sikatuna Village was part of the government’s 1950s Homesite program Project 2, to house government employees and families that were displaced by the damage of World War II’s 1945 Battle of Manila and its ensuing reconstruction. Established in 1957, the Sikatuna Village residents first attended masses at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice (est. 1955) 4 kilometers away at the University of the Philippines, or the Saint Joseph Parish (est. 1952) 1.3 kilometers away along Marikina-Ermita Avenue (now the Aurora Boulevard).

02 1967 Claret School of Quezon City & 1977 Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish
1967 Claret School of Quezon City & 1977 Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish

By the late 1960s, the residents of Sikatuna Village were attending masses at the chapel of the Claret School for Boys, when the Claretian Missionaries established the school in 1967. Located 1.8 kilometers away at the adjoining Teachers Village, the Claret chapel would become the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish (IHMP), but the new parish could not properly accommodate the constantly growing neighboring populations. So in 1980, the Sikatuna Ladies Association raised funds to erect a small chapel in the area, and was served by priests from the IHMP.

In 1991 the church was completed, and declared as the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy in 1993, dedicated the Divine Mercy (Polish: Miłosierdzie Boże) imaged, which is based on a vision of Saint Faustina in 1931. The image is that of Jesus Christ blessing the viewer with his right hand; while his left hand is exposing the wound, where a Roman centurion pierced his side (John 19:31–37), and rays of light are emanating from the wound. The red light represents the Blood of Jesus, while the lighter rays symbolize the water of justice. The first known image of the Divine Mercy was painted by the Polish painter Eugeniusz Marcin Kazimirowski (1873-1939) on June 1934, as he followed the descriptions of Saint Faustina. The most recognized image of the Divine Mercy was painted by the Polish artist Adolf Hyła (1897-1965), which includes the line: Jesus I trust in You” (Polish: Jezu ufam Tobie). The last noted image of the Divine Mercy was by the American painter Divine Mercy by Robert Oliver Skemp (1910-1984) in 1982.

04 1993 Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, Right Transept, Relic of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)
1993 Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, Right Transept, Relic of Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905–1938)

At the right transept of the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy is a relic of Saint Maria Faustyna (Faustina) Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament (born Helena Kowalska; 1905–1938), a Polish nun who is regarded as the “Apostle of Divine Mercy” by the Catholic Church. While in the City of Płock, a vision of Jesus appeared to the nun, and dictated that the image of the Divine Mercy be created, with a promise of those who venerated the image will not perish.

05 1993 Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, Altar
1993 Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, Altar

The Sikatuna Village Association first approached a resident, Arch. Orlando M. Mateo of MANA Architecture + Interior Design, who was then working on several projects for National Artist for Architecture Leandro Valencia Locsin (1928-1994), the designer of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. So they approached another neighbor, and University of Santo Tomas graduate, Arch. Benjamin P. San Pedro of Filworks Konstruction & Development, and his partner Arch. Fe Romero. However, as the construction went into full swing, Arch. Mateo joined the supervising team, to see its completion in 1991 as the Sikatuna Village chapel. Three years after the establishment of the chapel as the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, the Bahay Magmamahal (House of Love) multi-purpose hall was completed in 1996.

06 Altar Sacred Heart of Mary, Altar Sacred Heart of Jesus & Saint Joseph
Altar Sacred Heart of Mary, Altar Sacred Heart of Jesus & Saint Joseph

The Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy is an odd combination of the Mission Style architecture, with Brutalist elements. However, the retablo (altarpiece) is a cross between Baroque and modern styles. The center panel of the retablo is an enlarger reproduction of Adolf Hyła’s version of the Divine Mercy, painted by a local Filipino artist. The left retablo is an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, while the right retablo is an image of Saint Joseph; completing the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family).

The same clean geometric lines, with minimal Baroque ornamentation, can be seen on the lectern, altar table, Our Lady of Remedies altar in the left transept, and the 2015-2016 Jubilee Door.

Another interesting feature of the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy is the 14 Stations of the Cross. Instead of showing scenes of the passion and death of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24: 11-61, Mark 15: 1-47, Luke 23: 13-56, and John 19: 1-42), what is depicted are just the hands of Jesus Christ during those events.

The devotion to the Divine Mercy is very popular in the Philippines, as many churches dedicated to the vision of Saint Faustina are built throughout the archipelago. With the promise of salvation, such as devotion has led to the construction and establishment of parishes and shrines since the 1990s; such as the 1991 Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Davao City, the 1992 National Shrine and Parish of the Divine Mercy Philippines in Bulacan, the 1994 Divine Mercy Parish and 2001 Divine Mercy Chapel in Pampanga, the 1995 Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Mandaluyong City, the 2004 Church of Divine Mercy in Laoag City, the 2008 Divine Mercy Parish in Negros Oriental, the 2008 Divine Mercy Shrine in Misamis Oriental, the Divine Mercy Church in Cavite, and the Divine Mercy Shrine in Tarlac City.

Despite the desire for eternal salvation, the Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy’s simplicity gives visitors a quite respite from the traffic and hubhub of the streets.

11 1993 Parish of The Lord of Divine Mercy, Madasalin Street

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