Monday, February 18, 2008

Mangaldan Church

Mangaldan owns the distinction as the third town in Pangasinan to be founded by the Dominican missionaries.
As early as 1591, Mangaldan already existed as a Spanish encomienda. Its foundation as a town is attributed to Blessed Juan Martinez de Santo Domingo, a former missionary of Pangasinan who died a martry’s death in Japan on March 19, 1618.

Mangaldan started as a “visita” of Calasiao and it remained as such until the Dominicans created it as an independent vicariate under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas on June 2, 1600.

It is said that of all the people of Pangasinan, the Mangaldanes were the most difficult to convert. The greatest enemy of the missionaries in the town was a certain man named Casipit who tried to force them out of the town and even attempted to kill some of them. Yet, when he was converted by the first apostle, Fr. Pedro Soto, he became the principal propagator of the Faith. He contributed a great sum of money for the construction of the first church.

In the second half of the 19th century Mangaldan was the richest town in the province. This was due to the famous irrigation system which the missionaries built within the confines of the town causing its fertile fields to yield bountiful harvest of palay. Most outstanding in this gigantic task was Fr. Jose Torres who gave his life to bring it to completion in 1892.

The third church to be built in Mangaldan was completed in 1812 by Fr. Lorenzo Martin. It collapsed during the great earthquake of March 16, 1892, together with the big chapel in the cemetery. The construction of the convent dates back in 1747. The construction of the sixth and present church of Mangaldan was begun in 1942 by Fr. Juan Sison, and was completed 20 years later by Fr. Leon Bitanga.

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