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Archdiocese of Manila

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This archdiocese comprises the city of Manila, the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Rizal, Tarlac, and Zambales; and the Districts of Infanta and Marinduque in the Province of Tayabas. The area of this territory is 18,175 square miles. The population, nearly all Catholics, is estimated at 1,642,582. By the appointment (March, 1910) of the Rt. Rev. José Patrelli as first Bishop of Lipa, Batangas, the provinces of Batangas and Laguna were separated from the archdiocese of which they had until then been a part. The archdiocese includes some 270 towns, or, more properly, townships or counties, since each town may include, together with the pueblo several barrios (villages) with a population of two or three thousand each. There are in the archdiocese 225 secular priests, 182 priests representing nine religious orders, 252 parishes (196 of which have resident priests ), 70 lay brothers, 309 members of nine religious communities of women, a preparatory and a general seminary, one university, 52 colleges, academies, and schools, with a total attendance of about 5000, and 9 charitable institutions with approximately 2000 inmates.


Manila was formerly occupied by the Spaniards under Legaspi on 19 May, 1571. The natives whom the missionaries found there were idolators, ancestor-worshippers, and worshippers of the sun, moon, and stars, of animals and birds. The Mohammedans (Moros) from Mindanao, however, had begun to force their creed among the natives before Legaspi arrived, and he was accompanied by Augustinian Friars, who immediately began to explain the doctrines of Christianity to the pagans. Their conversion was rapid, and in a comparatively short time churches were erected, schools opened, and a printing press established. The ease with which the Spaniards conquered these Islands was due to the zeal of the missionaries. That the Filipinos have remained loyal to their faith is attested by the Philippine Commission (Atkinson, "The Philippine Islands ", p. 329).

The See of Manila, with jurisdiction over all the Philippine Islands and suffragan to Mexico, was erected in 1578. The first bishop, Domingo de Salazar (born 1512), arrived in Sept., 1581. One of the first acts of the bishop was to publish (21 Dec., 1581) regulations for the government of the cathedral chapter. He appointed a dean, canons, and other ecclesiastical officials, and in 1582 convoked a synod at Manila, interrupting it until 1586 on account of the absence from the Philippines of the Jesuit Father Sanchez. There were ninety ecclesiastics, and six laymen, at the council. After ten years of energetic work Salazar went to Spain to plead the cause of the Filipinos before the King. He was nominated Archbishop of Manila, with suffragan sees at Cebú, Nueva Cáceres, and Nueva Segovia (Vigan). To these were added the Diocese of Jaro , in 1865, and four other dioceses, in 1902. Salazar died at Madrid, 4 Dec., 1594, before receiving the Bulls of his appointment from the pope. The first archbishop to reach Manila was the Franciscan, Ignacio de Santibañez. He took possession of his see in 1798, but died three months later. Five years passed before a successor was appointed, in the person of Miguel de Benavides, a Dominican and first Bishop of Nueva Segovia in Northern Luzon. The new archbishop had come to the Philippines in 1587. He had laboured among the Chinese of Manila and built the hospital of San Gabriel for them. He was the founder of the celebrated University of Santo Tomás at Manila, which exists to this day. During the archiepiscopacy of his successor, Diego Vasquez de Mercado, there arrived in Manila a large band of confessors exiled from Japan. Colin's "Labor Evangelica", pp. 434-562.

Among the other archbishops who filled the See of Manila were: Miguel Garcia Serrano, an Augustinian, noted for his great sanctity of life; Hernando Guerrero, a Franciscan, who had laboured for more than thirty years among the Tagalos and Pampangans; Fernando Montero de Espinosa; Miguel Poblete, who rebuilt the cathedral and himself went about the city soliciting alms for that purpose; Felipe Pardo, a Dominican, who was banished from the city by the Audiencia, but was later restored; Francisco de la Cuesta, a Hieronymite, who, together with a large number of prominent laymen and ecclesiastics, was imprisoned by the tyrannical governor Bustamente, in Fort Santiago, whence he was afterwards taken and forced by the populace to accept the governorship of the islands ad interim, in place of Bustamente. Manuel Rojo, who took possession of the see 22 July, 1759, had been also appointed governor-general of the islands. During his rule the English, under Draper, besieged and captured Manila and then pillaged the city so wantonly that Draper himself was obliged to interfere. In order to raise the money demanded by the English, the archbishop was obliged to surrender all his church property, even to his own pastoral ring. Archbishop Pedro Payo, a Dominican, built the present cathedral at a cost of about $500,000. Bernardino Nozaleda, also a Dominican, was the last archbishop under the Spanish domination, resigning his see in 1901. The archdiocese was then administered by the Rt. Rev. Martin Garcia y Alcocer, Bishop of Cebú, until the appointment of the first American archbishop, the Most Rev. Jeremiah J. Harty. Archbishop Harty was born at St. Louis, Missouri, 1 Nov., 1853, made his early studies under the Christian Brothers and in the Jesuit University of St. Louis, entered the seminary at Cape Girardeau in 1873, and was ordained priest 28 April, 1878. He had held various cures of souls in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and had founded the Parish of St. Leo in that city, when Pius X appointed him to the See of Manila by a Brief dated 8 August, 1903. He was consecrated at Rome, 15 August, of the same year, preconized on 9 Nov., and took possession of the see on 16 Jan., 1904. An Apostolic delegation to the Philippine Islands was inaugurated in 1902 with the Most Rev. John Baptist Guidi, who died at Manila, 26 June, 1904, and was replaced two months later by the Most Rev. Ambrose Agius, a Benedictine. Monsignor Agius convoked the first Provincial Council of the Philippine Islands, which was solemnly opened in the cathedral of Manila on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception , 1907.


Sawyer, a Protestant writer, speaking of the religious orders in the Philippines, says: "The friars have fared badly at the hands of several writers on the Philippines ; but it will be noticed that those who know the least about them speak the worst of them" ("The Inhabitants of the Philippines ", p. 65). "The religious orders . . . were hardy and adventurous pioneers of Christianity and in the evangelization of the Philippines, by persuasion and teaching, they did more for Christianity and civilization than any other missionaries of modern times. Of undaunted courage, they have ever been to the front when calamities threatened their flocks. In epidemics of plague and cholera they have not been dismayed, nor have they ever in such cases abandoned their flocks. . . . They have done much for education, having founded schools for both sexes, training colleges for teachers, the University of St. Thomas in Manila and other institutions. Hospitals and asylums attest their charity. They were formerly, and even lately, the protectors of the poor against the rich, and of the native against the Spaniards. They have consistently resisted the enslavement of the natives. They restrained the constant inclination of the natives to wander away into the woods and return to primitive savagery by keeping them in the towns, or, as they said, 'under the bells '" (ibid., p. 75).

The first missionaries in the Archdiocese of Manila were Augustinians. They arrived in Cebú, with Legaspi, in 1565, and six years later opened a house at Manila which became the central house of their order in the Philippines. They founded the parishes of Tondo (Manila), Tambobong, and Pasig. In the Province of Bulacan they established the parishes of Dapdap, Guiguinto, Bigaa, Angat, Baliuag, Quingua, Malolos, Paombong, Calumpit, and Hagonoy. In the Province of Pampanga they founded parishes at Bacolor, Macabebe, Porac, Mexico, Arayat, and Apalit. They had their churches also at Tarlac, San Miguel de Mayumo, and Candaba. In the Province of Batangas they founded the towns (now numbering from 20,000 to 40,000 inhabitants) of Taal, Balayan, Bauan, Batangas, Tanauan, and Lipa. They became masters of the dialects of the tribes among whom they laboured, reduced the languages to a system, and published grammars, dictionaries, and books of devotion for the natives. In all their parishes (and this may be said equally of the other religious orders) they erected magnificent stone churches which remain to this day as a lasting memorial to their zeal. Their monastery and church at Guadalupe (near Manila) and their church at Malolos, one of the largest in the islands, were destroyed during the Filipino insurrection; but even the ruins bear splendid testimony to the Apostolic zeal of these fervent missionaries.

The Franciscans arrived at Manila 24 June, 1577. They were the first missionaries in the districts of Sampaloc and Santa Ana, Manila, and in the towns of Meycauayan, Bocaue, Morong, Baraa, Pagsanjan, Santa Cruz de la Laguna, and Mainit. They also established numerous parishes in the Provinces of Tayabas and Camarines. A lay brother, porter in the Convent of San Francisco, Manila, was the founder of the San Lazaro hospital for lepers in 1598. Five years later the hospital was removed outside the city; since the American occupation it has been in the possession of the American Government, though the archiepiscopal cross still remains over the entrance. The Emperor of Japan was responsible in a great measure for the increase of leprosy in the Islands, as he sent a shipload of the unfortunates to Manila with the double purpose of ridding his country of them and of manifesting his displeasure at the spread of Christianity in his empire. He is reported to have sent a message with the convoy to the effect that, as the Spaniards were so fond of caring for the sick, he desired to gratify their wishes by presenting them with the lepers. To the Franciscans is probably due, in great measure, the striking devotion to the Passion of Our Lord which exists today among the Filipino people.

The first Jesuits to arrive in the islands came with Bishop Salazar in 1581. One of them, Father Sedeno, had been a missionary in Florida. He opened the first school in the Philippines and founded colleges at Manila and Cebú. He taught the Filipinos to cut stone, to make mortar, to weave, and to sew. He brought artists from China to teach them to draw and paint, and erected the first stone building in the Philippines, the cathedral, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patroness of the whole group of islands. His companion, Father Sanchez, was one of the most remarkable men of the society in his day, and by a unanimous vote of all the Spaniards of the colony, was sent to Europe to treat with Philip II and with the pope on the affairs of the colony. He was accompanied by a Filipino boy, a Pampangan youth named Martin, who later returned to his native land as the first Filipino Jesuit. The college and seminary of San José was established by the Jesuits of Manila in 1595. Though no longer under the control of the Jesuits, it still exists, and is therefore the oldest of the colleges of the archipelago. By royal decree of 12 March, 1653, it took precedence of all centres of learning in the islands. During the first hundred years of its existence it counted among its alumni 8 bishops, 39 Jesuits (4 of whom became provincials ), 11 Augustinians, 18 Franciscans of various branches of the order, 3 Dominicans, and 39 secular clergy. The Jesuit University of St. Ignatius, which opened its first classes in 1587, was confirmed as a pontifical university in 1621, and asa royal university in 1653. Besides their college and university, the Jesuits had a novitiate for the training of their order at San Pedro Macati, near Manila. The solid stone church still exists, but today only massive ruins remain of the seventeenth-century novitiate. The Jesuits also possessed a college at Cavite. They built the famous sanctuary of Antipolo, at present the most frequented place of pilgrimage in the islands. They established the Parishes of Santa Cruz and of San Miguel, Manila. They published numerous works in the Tagalog dialect, and some of their great folio dictionaries of that tongue exist today. Expelled from the Philippines in 1768, it was not until 1859 that they were permitted to continue the work they had begun 278 years before. They opened the college of the Ateneo, which, from humble beginnings became a school of secondary instruction in 1865, and now numbers about 1500 students, and they established a normal school which, since the American occupation, has become a combined preparatory seminary and college under the title of San Xavier. (See also MANILA OBSERVATORY.)

The first band of Dominican missionaries to reach the islands arrived in Manila in 1587. A full account of the immense good accomplished by these fathers will be found in Fonseca's "Historia de la Provincia del Santisimo Rosario". In 1611 they founded the University of Santo Tomás which was confirmed as a pontifical university in 1645 and as a royal university in 1680. In 1836 the university petitioned Spain for authority to establish a chair of Spanish and Insular Law. The petition was granted, and the law department of the university was begun. In 1871 departments of medicine and pharmacy were opened. As these drew revenue from the estate of the old San José College, they are now known as the San José College. The College of San Juan de Letrán was begun by the Dominican Fathers in 1640; it was elevated to the rank of a school of secondary instruction in 1867. The students, who number about 1000, follow the usual college course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Of the professors of Santo Tomás about thirty have been raised to the episcopal dignity, and one student, a native Chinese named Gregorio Lopez, was Bishop of Nanking, where he died in 1670. What is now the University Press was established at the end of the sixteenth century, before the foundation of the university itself. It was first established in the Hospital of San Gabriel, later transferred to Bataan, and in 1623 it was removed to the university, where it has continued until the present day. During its long career the University Press has issued countless works of a religious and educational character, not only in the modern and classical languages, but in various native dialects of the Islands. Greek, Hebrew, and Sanskrit are included in its rich assortment of type. The Church of San Domingo at Manila, which was rebuilt for the fifth time in 1868, contains the famous statue of Our Lady of the Rosary which is carried in solemn procession every year through the streets of Manila attended by a vast multitude of people from every part of the islands. That the devotion to the Holy Rosary is so deeply implanted in the hearts of the Filipino people, is due mainly to the zeal of the Dominican Fathers. Like their companions in missionary labours, the Dominicans extended their zealous work in numerous provinces of the islands, founding towns, establishing parishes, building magnificent churches, opening schools, and publishing books in the native dialects.

The Recollect Fathers were first established in the archdiocese in 1600. Besides their work in Manila, where they have two large churches, the Recollects have converted the tribes in Mariveles and Zambales. Their apostolic labours have been extended to the lands of Mindoro, Tablas, Masbate, Burias, Ticao, Paragua, the Calamianes, Negros, and Mindanao. The Lazarist fathers came to Manila in 1862 to care for the diocesan seminaries in the Philippines. Since the American occupation the seminaries of the archdiocese have been under the direction of the Jesuit fathers , but the Lazarists continue in charge of the diocesan seminaries of Cebú, Jaro (Iloilo), and Nueva Cáceres. The Capuchin fathers are in charge of two churches at Manila. They came to the Philippines in 1886 to assume charge of the missions in the Caroline and Palaos Islands. The fathers of the Order of St. Benedict were first established in Manila in 1895. In 1901 they founded the college of San Beda, which has an attendance of about 400 students.

A community of cloistered Franciscan nuns was established at Manila in 1621. The sisters, Spaniards, mestizas, and natives, occupy the convent of Santa Clara, Manila. In 1694 Ignacia del Espiritu Santo founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin. The members are all natives. They conduct a school, to which is attached a home for aged women. A large number of them are engaged in teaching in various mission stations of Mindanao. The sisters of St. Dominic opened their convent at Manila in 1698. They conduct the College of Santa Catalina. The Sisters of Santa Rita date their origin from 1730. They have charge of the Santa Rita Academy. The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul are in charge of the Colleges of Santa Isabel, of Concordia, and of Santa Rosa; of the Hospicio de San José, of the Hospital of San Juan de Dios, of the School and Orphan Asylum of St. Vincent de Paul (Looban), all at Manila. They entered the archdiocese in 1862. The establishment of the Sisters of the Assumption at Manila was made in 1892. The sisters are in charge of a college for young ladies and a free school for the poor. The Augustinian Sisters are native nuns who conduct the Academy of Our Lady of Consolation. The Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres were established at Manila in 1904. Besides their hospital work and a large school of native nurses in the city, they have charge of several academies in the provinces. The Benedictine Sisters came to the islands from Germany in 1906. They established the college of St. Scholastica, and have organized in their chapel the devotion of the Perpetual Adoration.


The Hospital of San Juan de Dios, situated in the Walled City of Manila, was founded in 1596 by the Confraternity of Santa Misericordia. In 1656 it passed into the hands of the Order of St. John of God, and in 1886 it was put under the care of the Sisters of Charity, who still conduct the institution. The hospital was twice destroyed by earthquakes, and was severely damaged by the storm of 1882. The generosity of the pious people, especially of the governor-general and of the archbishops, restored it; the building was enlarged and now occupies a large city square. The patients, the majority of whom are Filipinos, number between four hundred and five hundred, a fourth of whom are charity patients, supported by the hospital. St. Paul's Hospital, at present the best equipped hospital in the Far East, was founded by Archbishop Harty in 1905. It is under the care of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres. There are about 200 patients. The Hospicio de San José is situated on an island in the Pasig River, adjacent to the Ayala Bridge, Manila. It was founded in 1806, and is under the care of the Sisters of Charity. It contains an orphan asylum for boys and girls, a home for the aged, a foundling asylum, an insane asylum for men and women, a reform school for youthful prisoners sentenced by the courts, and a department for female prisoners with children under two years of age. There are about 600 inmates in this institution, which is supported by government appropriation and by donations of the charitable. A native woman who became a Sister of Charity, gave her home and property for the founding of the Asylum of St. Vincent de Paul , which is conducted by that congregation. It contains an orphan asylum for girls and an academy for extern students. The asylum is supported by charitable donations and by the sale of embroidery made by the inmates. The College of Santa Isabel was founded in 1632 for the education of Spanish orphan girls. It was supported until 1640 by the Confraternity of Mercy. In 1861 the College of Santa Potenciana was combined with that of Santa Isabel. At present the institution, besides providing for orphans, conducts a boarding- and day-school. The Monte de Piedad is a charitable pawnbroking establishment which was opened in 1880. Money is loaned to the poor at the rate of 6 per cent per annum. (The rate in Manila for small loans is commonly 5 per cent per month, and a much higher rate is not uncommon.) Interest at 4 per cent per annum is allowed on all deposits. The Archbishop of Manila is the President of the Board of Directors of the Monte de Piedad. There are about 2000 students in Manila who have come from the provinces to attend the advanced classes of the government schools. To protect these boys and girls from the dangers to which they would be exposed in a large city, far removed from the salutary influence of home, to provide them, also, with the religious instruction of which they are deprived in the government schools, Archbishop Harty established in 1906 a dormitory for boys, and in 1909 one for girls. Board and lodging are furnished in these establishments at from $7.50 to $9.00 a month.

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