The Santísimo Rosario Parish-UST in Sampaloc District of the city of Manila is a special parish, not only because it is under the care of a religious community, the Dominicans; but also, by its very location, a parish church within a University (UST), covering two universities (UST and Far Eastern University) within its jurisdiction. The UST Chapel, in which the spiritual, moral and pastoral needs of the Thomasian administrators, faculty members, support staff, students, alumni and guests are cared for, and where religious (ie Misa de Apertura, Mass in Honor of St. Thomas Aquinas) and academic functions (ie Discurso de Apertura, Commencement Exercises of the Ecclesiastical Faculties, Installation of the Rector) are held, also became the same church where parishioners go for their spiritual nourishment (ie Prayer, Liturgy, Sacraments, Blessing, and other ministries). For the past 75 years, the parish has been a spiritual haven for both the students of the University of Santo Tomás and its parishioners beyond the UST campus.
The parish fiesta is held every first Sunday of October. Before the celebration this year, the following events were held: Launching of the Social Media handles, Parish Exhibit, Rosary Rally, Street Masses, Feeding Program, Bible Congress, 13th Anniversary of Pondo ng Pinoy, Fatima Centennial, Diamond Jubilee Celebration at the Manila Hotel, Mass Baptism, Mass Confirmation and Mass Wedding. On September 21, the Solemn Rite of Enthronement of the Nuestra Señora del Santísimo Rosario preceded the nine-day novena masses in which former parish priests, parochial vicars and syndics graced the occasion. On October 1, the day of the fiesta, a living rosary preceded the grand procession. Most Rev. Gregorio D. Camilo, DD, Bishop-Prelate Emeritus of Batanes presided the fiesta mass. Glyzelle Iris Palomar of the Tulay ng Kabataan Foundation of the Archdiocese of Manila, who was embraced by Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to UST and is now a Grade 8 UST Junior High School student, led the Act of Consecration of Christian Families in the Philippines to the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. Pilgrims who take part in the Jubilee festivities gain plenary indulgence following the approval of the Holy See (Prot. N. 644/17/1 et 2), under the usual conditions: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer for the intentions of the Pope, and detachment from sin. The Diamond Jubilee year will be concluded on October 7, 2018.
At present, the Parish is headed by Rev. Fr. Louie Coronel, OP, who was installed on 12 January 2016 by His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, DD. He oversees the intensification of the four (4) core programs especially this Jubilee Year: The Basic Ecclesial Communities (which includes Feeding Program, Scholarship Program, Medical Services, Kalyeserye); Catechetical Program (which includes the Formation of a Core Group of grades school pupils from various public elementary schools, the Promotion of the Bible, the Promotion of the Rosary; Social Media Apostolate); Youth Formation (which includes programs for the Youth Ministry); and Liturgico-Sacramental Program (which includes Mass Baptism, Mass Confirmation, Mass Wedding, Pastoral Ministry for the needy, the sick, the aged, and the persons with disabilities; and a more active, creative and participatory prayer life of the parish).
A key program of the parish is the intensification of its BECs that is highlighted by the “Kalyeserye” program. The term is not just inspired by a local love team but of deep pastoral implication. “Kalyeserye” includes catechism on the street, praying of the rosary, Confession on the street, and street masses. Beyond its terminology, Fr. Coronel is personally influenced by the life and ministry of His Holiness Pope Francis who regarded himself as a “callejero” when he was still serving the local Church of Argentina. It is our endeavor to proclaim the Good News in the streets where the people are.
Aware of the present challenges of the social media, the new evangelization, and the phenomenon of transient parishioners with the emergence of high-rise buildings, we remain faithful in Christ.
By Rev. Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P.
Parish Priest, Santisimo Rosario Parish - UST
Spiritual Director, Young Thomasian Professionals