20 Neptune Street, Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City, Philippines
0997-514-9961 (Globe) 0970-517-4601 (Smart)
!Que Capilla! Was the surprised reaction of the Spanish Recollect prior general when he visited the Philippines and saw in 1972 what he thought would be an oratory adjunct to the new convent house of the Order of Augustinian Recollects here in Project 6, Quezon City.
But thanks to the foresight and we’d like to believe as the heeding of the prompting of the Holy Spirit by the then OAR vicar general Fray German Chicote OAR- this chapel, airy, spacious, “maaliwalas” was built.
The prior general was not the only one impressed by what was supposed to be a small chapel for private worship. When then Archbishop Jaime Sin, friend of the Recollects, especially Fr. Chicote, saw our chapel happy that there is now a church in what was once a rolling terrain of adobe and grassland, he made it a parish on this day that we are celebrating April 30, 1975, 46 years ago.
The first Parish Priest, Fray Remirez OAR was installed on May 11, 1975 and dedicated by Auxilliary Bishop Juan Bautista Velasco, OP.
For 11 years, the three Spanish friars, Fray Remirez, OAR Fray Antonio Ausejo OAR and Fray Clemente Jubera OAR ministered to oldtimer parishioners led by Margarita ‘Luz’ Ramos, SAR, Armand and Norma Commandante SAR, and other grandparents of our current crop of church servers.
In 1986, Fray Jose Luis Duenas OAR was our amiable Parish Priest. It was he who was so immersed in ministering to the peripheries… He held street masses when the norm was “family masses”.
Fray Leonardo Pauligue was the first Filipino Parish priest who took the post first for two consecutive terms in 1989 to 1995 and the third term in 2000, after the term of the current prior provincial, Fray Dionisio Selma OAR.
Fray Delfin Castillo OAR was our parish priest for five years taking the unfinished term of Fr. Nicholas Salamanca who became a diocesan priest. Fray Delfin died in July 3, 2014 while assigned at the San Sebastian Manila community.
The second death of a priest here at the provincialate was that of Fray Emilio Larlar Jr. OAR who died of Covid last September. The first was Fray Ausejo who died of natural causes.
Our parish is unique, housing the seat of the OAR province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, it has more than a dozen priests who preside at mass and hear confession. Penitents from different parishes troop to San Nicolas to receive the sacrament.
We looked back in gratitude to members of the Provincial Curia who served the parish including past prior provincials:
Fray Emeterio Bunao OAR, Fray Lauro Larlar OAR, Fray Rex Bangcaya OAR, and Fray Dionisio Selma OAR.
We also thank Fray Leopoldo Estioko OAR, Fray Henry Santiago OAR, Fray Bernabe Dosdos OAR, Fray Joel Naranja OAR, Fray Jose Ernil Almayo OAR and Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla OAR. They are beloved by parishioners for their kindness.
From 1975 to the present, our parish is the go-to church to pray for the deceased. Our daily masses are peppered with numerous mass intentions for the repose of souls in purgatory.
Devotees of San Nicolas flock to our fiesta every September 10.
We have maintained the original architecture of our church in 46 years save for minor renovations.
The choir loft was built during the last term of Fray Leo.
The side altar where the tabernacle is, was retiled from blue ceramic to bricks after the jubilee year. The stained-glass windows were installed under the term of Fr. Nick, also after the 2000 jubilee year.
Fr. Nick build the BEC from the ground up with +Ma. Cristina Galang SAR as first facilitator. She held the post for 9 years. The current BEC facilitator is Sis. Nena Herreria together with the BEC area leaders.
Fr. Delfin Castillo pushed for the training of catechists. Those who trained with the Diocese of Cubao are Lourdes Luna, Rosario Galang, Cristy Galang, Lydia Morales and Aurora Rugeria.
We built the perpetual adoration chapel in late 1990s and had it renovated in 2010 together with the four-story pastoral center under the term of Fr. Jose Fortunato Garces.
Fr. Garces worked for the propagation of the devotion to San Nicolas and San Ezekiel Moreno. San Nicolas is also the shrine of St. Ezekiel Moreno.
The covered parking lot was built during the term of Fray Amadeo Lucero OAR. Fr. Mhadz together with other OAR priests held concerts to help pay for the parking lot called, San Nicolas de Tolentino Multi-Purpose Hall.
Our current parish priest, Fray Jonathan Caballero OAR spruced up the sacristy and the sanctuary.
The old baptistry was renovated to house the chapel of Nuestra Senora de la Salud in 2019.
Our church now has as second patron Our Lady of Health, Nuestra Senora de la Salud whose traslacion from the Museum of the Recollects happened in 2017.
The first 42 years of our parish saw a genteel, slow-paced life of worship and service that suddenly was enlivened by the new devotion to the La Salud.
And in March 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic changed everything that was familiar.
It was unthinkable but it happened, suddenly the most important liturgical season, easter triduum, cannot be celebrated as usual.
But through the grace of God, technology came to the rescue. Holy masses were celebrated online, the parish SOCCOM ministry, new to the trade, delivered. The team of Kiarah Guillen was able to livestream the celebration of the mass on the most basic of equipment- a cellphone, laptop and sheer guts doused in prayers.
First it was out of focus, too far, audio was not working properly but by the third airing, the livestream was moving smoothly.
Then came the very moving motorcade of the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Cross and Nuestra Senora de la Salud.
The San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish started livestreaming the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily from Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion (April 5, 2020) to Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19, 2020).
After the government imposed the enhanced community quarantine last March 14, up to April 4 or for 20 days, parishioners had to content themselves participating in masses livestreamed from the Diocese of Cubao, The Archbishop of Manila, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish in Tondo and other sources.
During this time of disconnect and isolation, the parish tried to provide for the spiritual needs of the congregation through the parish facebook account, San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish QC, posting prayers, and links to worldwide spiritual services like the extraordinary Urbi et Orbi message of Pope Francis.
The motorcade of the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Cross gathered views of 20,000 each… a huge jump from the less than 100 who participates in online masses.
The most viewed video feed of the parish is the procession of the holy cross on Good Friday where 20,437 viewed the procession.
The previous day, during the six-hour procession of the Holy Sacrament 19,477 viewed, stayed with the procession. The slightly bigger viewership for the Holy Cross procession maybe attributed in part for the successful Holy Sacrament procession.
The Easter Vigil of the Holy night got 12,000 views.
Easter Sunday when there were 5 live masses netted 6,800 views or more than 1,000 per mass.
During the daily masses within the Octave of Easter, daily visits ranged from 2,800 to 3,200.
If there was one thing that parishioners really appreciated, it was the time that priests came to them to distribute communion.
Before that member of different organizations together with the priests prayed the rosary to halt the spread of covid.
During the pandemic, the parish increased the frequency of distributing food for the poor under the Limos ni San Nicolas Program. From once a month it became a biweekly event and more depending on the donations. It also added the weekly distribution of hot meals to street dwellers during the night.