THE HISTORY OF SANTUARIO DEL STO. CRISTO CHURCH

The Sanctuario de Sto. Cristo and its adjacent convent were built in 1602-1604 by the Dominican Fathers of the Holy Rosary Province on a site donated by Captain Julian de Cuenca. Before the Sto. Cristo was enthroned, St. John the Baptist was the titular of the church. Hend the name of San Juan given to the town built around the Sanctuario. Both the building were burned during the Chinese uprising of 1639. Reconstructed again in 1639, they were set on fire in July 1763 during the British occupation of Manila and were rebuilt anew in 1774.

In 1641, Fr. Sebastian de Oquendo, OP, Prior of Santo Domingo in Intramuros, decided to send to San Juan the image of the Sto.Cristo that was venerated in Binondo church; it could not be a enshrined at Santo Domingo Convent because the size of the image would not fit there. From then on the devotion to the Santo Cristo spread fast to the neighboring towns. Soon, some devotees decided to organize the Confraternity of the Sto.Cristo of San Juan del Monte. Throughout the years, its membership included Archbishops, Governor Generals as well as simple people. The confraternity obtained its formal approval from Pope Innocent X in his Bull Considerantes Nostrae Mortalitatis issued at Rome on march 4, 1648.

In 1942, the Santuario was erected parish. As years went on the church could not cope with the increase population of San Juan and the idea of enlarging the church was finally pushed through on February 16, 1963 when His Eminence Rufino Cardinal Santos blessed the cornerstone of the new Santuario. The present structure keeps the original façade of the church of 1774 and, though enlarged, retains the same inside and outside structures.

Since 1958, the Parish has attended to the catechetical formation of the students of the four public elementary schools within the parish’s covered area. On occasions though, this particular mission has been halted by unwanted interruptions.

In 1959, the members of the Third Order of St. Dominic inaugurated on the ground of the Covent a free medical clinic. As time went by, the clinic evolved into the present St. martin de Porres Charity Hospital, open not only the parishioners but also to patients from outside areas.

In 1988, the Scholarship Parish Program began to help deserving public schools’ students. This program is being funded by the Dominican Fathers and from donations given by generous parishioners. As of the present, a total of 112 students have benefited from the program. In addition, the parish is blessed with 50 Japanese scholarship that help the same number of students up to college level.

The great challenge ahead is to strengthen even more the parish’s ministry to the youth, specifically how to reach out to them with appealing programs. This, together with adult catechesis, are the main thrust of the parish at present.
 

Santuario Santo Cristo Church History