Church of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu

 

The rich and meaningful history of the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu dates back to the early Spanish era of 1596, when the Augustinians friars built the first settlements in the place. In the year August 29, 1659, the first parish was built under and in honor of the patron St. Matthew (San Mateo), the apostle and evangelist. But in December 6, 1696, the Jesuits came and gained control of the town. Thus, in 1705, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Juan Echazabal, started the devotion to our Lady of Aranzazu from Spain and changed the patron of the town from St. Matthew to Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu.

 

In 1715, the first concrete church was built but was destroyed in 1863 by a devastating earthquake. In 1887 the church was rebuilt and repaired but was again destroyed by the war of 1942 during the Japanese occupation. In the year 1990, the bell tower was repaired after the earthquake of July 16 of the same year. And in 1993, the whole church, including the main altar, was repaired and refurnished.

The Parish of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu was proclaimed as a Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Aranzazu by the Vatican, being the only church in the Philippines under the title of Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu and only sister-parish of the Basilica of Aranzazu in Spain.

At present, the Rector and Parish Priest of the Diocesan Shrine is Rev. Fr. Lawrence (Larry) C. Paz and our Parochial Vicar, Rev. Fr. Moises (Mowie) Villamayor. They were assisted by Rev Fr. Gerard Joaquin (Gerry) V. Masangya, Director of the Nuestra Señora de Aranzazu Parochial School and Rev. Fr. Ramon (Boy) Daguman, our dead guest priest from the Diocese of Calbayog.

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