Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne



Facade of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne

St. Anne Parish, now Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne in Taguig, Metro Manila, had its beginning according to records from the Augustinian Archives in Valladolid, Spain, on April 4, 1587 during the Augustinian Chapter held in Manila. It was gathered that Taguig was already considered a parish since a vicar of Taguig was already appointed, a non-resident priest in the person of Padre Melchor de Rivera, OSA, who earlier visited the town in 1584.

From accounts of Augustinian friar Fr. Gaspar San Agustin, Taguig was established as a separate town in 1587 and simultaneously was declared a parish with St. Anne as its chosen Patroness. The first parish priest assigned to begin spiritual and religious activities in the town was Fr. Diego Alvarez, OSA, who was once an Augustinian Provincial. His assistant priest was Fr. Diego de Avila, OSA. At that time, the whole parish was made up of nine barrios: Bagumbayan, Hagonoy, Uaua, Bambang, Toctocan, Ususan, Sta. Ana, Palingong and Tipas.

The Building of St. Anne Church recorded several attempts of the parish's zealous parish priest to provide a church worthy of worship and veneration. In 1609, it was recorded that a beautiful convent was built by Fr. Hernando Guerrero, OSA. However, in 1645, a terrible earthquake demolished the structure. In 1848, the newly assigned parish priest, Fr. Andres Diaz, OSA, worked for the massive repair and reconstruction of the church and convent. The church complex served its purposes until 1882 when another earthquake consigned the building to rubble. To continue the religious services, the priest and the people decided to put up a makeshift church of wood and nipa. in 1883, Fr. Patricio Martin, OSA, began work in building a new church and convent, and he succeeded in putting up the essential foundations and stone walls before he died. His work was continued by Fr. Guillermo Diaz, OSA, who completed the edifice, beautified it and succeeded in reinforcing the foundation of the complex so much so that some parts of the original structure still stand today.

Interior of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne

St. Anne Parish changed hands from Augustinian friars who labored to propagate the Catholic faith in the area and introduced the devotion to its Patroness, St. Anne, to the Filipino clergy who likewise devoted much of their time in ministering the sacraments to the people and at the same time attending to the building and improvement of the church complex.

The work of church construction appeared endless. Every parish priest assigned saw a need to improve on a portion of the church building to make it even more functional, if not pleasing.

At the turn of the twentieth century when secularization of the Philippine Church came about, the Augustinian friars were forced to vacate the churches and handed the parishes to the Filipino Clergy. The first Filipino parish priest of Taguig was Fr. Nicolas Pagtakhan. He was followed by another priest who hailed from Taguig in the person of Fr. Silvino Labao of Tipas. Another local parishioner who became parish priest of Taguig was Fr. Vicente Estacio also from Tipas. He served from 1905-1914.

During the incumbency of Fr. Sotero Martin (1921-1927) much was done in completing the church construction. He was supported by then Archbishop of Manila, Archbishop Michael O'Doherty and the parishioners. Fr. Gerardo Maximo (1938-1951) continued the repairs and fencing of the church property.

Altar of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne

The spiritual needs of the parishioners were given greater attention during the term of Fr. Conrado Arciaga after he took over the parish in 1951. He invited some Jesuit priests headed by Fr. George Melis and Fr. Jesus Velasco who organized the religious and helped in giving sessions on doctrine and dogma.

The people of Taguig credit Msgr. Augurio Juta who was native of Sta. Ana and parish priest during the preparation for the Quadricentennial Celebration of St. Anne Parish, for having introduced major changes inside and outside the church. He was responsible for bringing in some innovations in the pastoral services and for the opening of the first Catholic School in Taguig run by RVM Sisters. His death in 1985, however sad for the parishioners, made the people even more expressive of their thanks and gratitude to Msgr. Juta as well as to all the parish priests who quietly but zealously attended to the spiritual as well as the social needs of the people.

Interior of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne

The work left behind by Msgr. Juta was continued by the new parish priest in the person of Msgr. Emmanuel V. Sunga who presided over the happy occasion of the 40th anniversary of the parish in 1987, a celebration which may be said to be an event marking the fidelity of the priests to their vocation and the people's ardor in demonstrating their love of God and respect to their Patroness, St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, grandmother of Jesus, the beloved Savior and Son of God.

It was during the incumbency of Msgr. Sunga when the parish was preparing for the celebration of the Quadricentennial that there was renewed effort to prepare the hearts, minds and souls of the parishioners for the coming big event and as a sign of thanksgiving for God's gift of faith. During the celebration of the Quadricentennial of the parish, the National Historical Commission installed the historical marker that can be seen at the main entrance of the church. Through the effort of Msgr. Emmanuel V. Sunga, the parish was declared the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne on August 9, 1989.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from mywedding.com, home.catholicweb.com, flickr.com.

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