San Vicente de Paul Parish:

A Centennial Story

San Marcelino Church (April 12, 1938)

Archbishop Jeremiah J. Harty decreed the canonical establishment of the Parish on December 6, 1909. Archbishop Harty was an alumnus of the Diocesan Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri which was under the direction of the Vincentians. The Diocese was founded by Vincentian Bishop Rosate in 1820.

The Vincentians bought a piece of land in 1872 in the barrio of San Marcelino, which was a rice field near the Pasig River. San Marcelino then was a part of the Parish of San Fernando de Dilao in Paco. The House they built served as refuge to the seminarians and Vincentians housed in the San Carlos Seminary which was destroyed, together with most buildings in Intramuros, by an earthquake in 1880. A chapel was built adjacent to the Vincentian Central House which later became the Parish Church.

When the Philippine Revolution against Spain began on August 29, 1896 and ended in victory with the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, many Spanish friars like the Franciscans in Paco Parish abandoned their post for fear of being killed by the Katipuneros. Since Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda could not convince any Filipino priest to manage Paco Parish, he requested the Vincentian Provincial Superior to assign a priest to take care of the parishioners. He also asked that the Chapel of the Central House be used as Parish Church because the church and convent of Paco were destroyed by the American forces in retaliation for their initial defeat by the Filipino forces following the Declaration of War against the Americans in 1899.

The granting of the request of the last Spanish Archbishop of Manila was going to be the beginning of the San Vicente de Paul Parish in San Marcelino. After 10 years of pastoral care of the Paco Parish, protecting the property of the Church against the Aglipayans, and attacks from influences of Freemasons and Protestants, the Church and the Convent of Paco were entrusted to Belgian Missionaries who built the present Church. However, Archbishop Harty wanted the Vincentians to form the San Vicente de Paul Church. Thus, on December 6, 1910, the Parish was instituted as ordered by the Church Law.

Parish Boundary

Photo taken in 1913
    The original boundary of the Parish in 1909 included the area now taken over by the Manila Cathedral, particularly the Manila Post Office, and that assigned to the St. Maria Goretti Parish on UN Avenue.

    The Parish covers areas from the Metropolitan Theatre down to Taft Avenue until Pedrol Gil Street; from Pedro Gil Street to San Marcelino Street; from San Marcelino Street to Romualdez Street, including the Hospicio de San Jose; and from Ayala Boulevard along the Pasig River back to the Metropolitan Theatre.

Port-co-chere was added to the original
structure of the church in 1935
Another shot of the church facade (1913)

Parish Population

Original structure of the sanctuary (1920)
    When the parish was established in 1909, the population was only 1,500. In 1938, there were about 5,000 persons. Today, there are approximately 10,000 individuals based on statistics provided by the barangays within the Parish vicinity.

    Many of those living in the Parish area are students and employees who are transient or temporary residents. There is a very considerable decrease of church attendance during Christmas, summer and holidays as the non-residents go home to their respective hometowns in the provinces.

Institutions Within the Parish

Church ruins during WWII (1945)
    Three (3) non-Catholic churches, three (3) government universities, one (1) non-sectarian college, two (2) public high schools, not to mention the Adamson University and the Sta. Isabel College, are found within the Parish jurisdiction. There is also a private hospital, several government agencies, a large shopping mall, and a supermarket within its coverage.

Around the educational institutions are eateries and dormitories. The Parish even has its own multipurpose cooperative store.

Pastoral Ministry
After WWII, the American soldiers
bombed the church (1945)

    The Parish has aligned all its Ministries along the Mission-Vision of the Archdiocese of Manila. Members involved in different ministries attend the Formation Seminars and other activities organized by the Archdiocese. There is a Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) under which exist 5 ministries, namely: Worship, Education, Service, Temporalities and Youth (WESTY). These ministries study the merits of proposals submitted to the PPC for approval and recommendation. They also initiate projects, programs, policies for consideration by the PPC. Parish employees and/or helpers are guided by the rules under the Archdiocesan Manual.

Vicarial Membership
    The Parish is currently a member of the Vicariate Forane of Nuestra Señora de Guia.

Special Devotion
    The patron saint of the church is St. Vincent de Paul. It is also known as the Church of the Miraculous Medal – the original and established center for the propagation of the Miraculous Medal and the Visita Domiciliaria.

Parish Structure
   The church was first erected in 1912. It was badly damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945.
In 1946, the dome, belfries and roof were restored, fitting the church with stained-glass windows. Modern restoration were applied a couple of decades after, from retrofitting of pillars and walls, replacement of galvanized iron to long-span blue-colored roofing, redesigning wooden trusses with steel material, and exterior & interior repainting of the church, which took place from 2007 and completed in 2010.

Modern Facade


Fr. Angel Martinez
Fr. Bruno Saiz
Fr. Gregorio Tabar
Fr. Ireneo Rodgriguez
Fr. Gregorio Tabar
Fr. Bruno Saiz
Fr. Jose Fernandez
Fr. Jesus Cavanna
Fr. Luis Anggulo
Fr. Zacarias Subiñas
Fr. Antonio Gomez
Fr. Zacarias Subiñas
Fr. Antonio Gomez
Fr. Gabriel Rodriguez
Fr. Antonio Gomez
Fr. Samuel Martinez
Fr. Antonio Gomez
Fr. Balbino Monreal
Fr. Mariano De Silva
Fr. Ezequiel Galeron
Fr. Francisco Vargas
Fr. Renato Ruelos
Fr. Francisco Vargas
Fr. Gregorio Bañaga
Fr. Justo Moro
Fr. Norberto Carcellar
Fr. Quirino Raut
Fr. Mariano De Silva
Fr. Rufo Navarrosa
Fr. Victor Pacheco
Fr. Mariano De Silva
Fr. Mario Castillo
Fr. Renato Ruelos
Fr. Jose Rendon Jr.

December 1909 – October 1910
October 1910 – July 1911
July 1911 – May 1913
May 1913 – May 1917
May 1917 – May 1921
May 1921 – May 1922
May 1922 – February 1945
February 1945 – July 1945
July 1945 – July 1946
July 1946
July 1946 – August 1946
August 1946 – April 1947
April 1947 – June 1947
June 1947 – March 1948
March 1948 – March 1954
March 1954 – June 1957
June 1957 – December 1964
December 1964 – December 1971
January 1972 – May 1972
May 1972 – April 1976
April 1976 - May 1981
May 1981 – December 1981
December 1981 – April 1982
April 1982 – July 1982
July 1982 – April 1983
April 1983 – March 1985
March 1985 – July 1990
July 1990 – June 1994
June 1994 – July 1996
July 1996 – May 2002
May 2002 – June 2005
June 2005 – June 2007
June 2007 – June 2010
June 2010 - Present