Jaro Cathedral: Iloilo’s center of faith
One of Iloilo City’s cherished icons – the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral is the center of faith in the region for centuries. Now restored and preserved, this architectural beauty defined the landscape of Metro Iloilo with its unique triangular facade, and its campanile located across the street. The church’s Romanesque revival-inspired design is seen in its intricate design and the red-roofed dome.
A distinct feature of the church is the all-male santos on its columns – an answer to Molo Church’s feminist theme. Though the church is the home of the Our Lady of Candles, it is dedicated to St. Elizabeth of Hungary.
Because of its importance to Iloilo’s religious and cultural heritage, the Jaro Cathedral was proclaimed by the National Historical Institute as a historical landmark in 1976. The cathedral was named as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles (Nuestra Señora De La Candelaria) for being the center of Marian devotion in the Visayas.
The present cathedral was inaugurated on 1874 during the annual celebration of the Feast of the Candelaria. It is the first cathedral in the island of Panay.
Nuestra Señora De La Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles)
Housed inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral complex is the stone image of Our Lady of Candles. The origin of the image itself had been said to be miraculous. Folk stories say that the image found in the shores of Iloilo River by a fisherman was about only a foot tall. It was so heavy that nobody can carry it; only when the people decided to bring the image to Jaro Church was one person able to successfully lift it.
Strange happenings surround the image and many believe that the Señora is miraculous.
In the olden days, people say that she has a habit of disappearing early in the morning and was spotted as a beautiful lady with long flowing hair bathing her son in a well found in the middle of the plaza. At the same time, a mist would cover her niche in the cathedral.
Another well known story is that before the Pacific War, the Señora’s place in the cathedral was engulfed in total darkness for days. When it dissipated, the image had miraculously grown larger.
Today, the image is already about 5 feet tall (almost larger than its previous niche) and many believe that it’s still growing. If faith can move mountains, can it make statues grow?
On February 1981, Pope John Paul II personally canonically crowned the image of Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria – the only Marian image in the country bestowed with such honor by the Holy Father.
Fiesta de la Candelaria
Held every 2nd day of February, the Fiesta de la Candelaria (Feast of Our Lady of Candles) is one of Iloilo’s most important religious events.
It is celebrated with blessings of candles, Masses, processions, and other less holy events such as feasts, grand balls in which a festival queen, usually a beauty from a prominent Jaroleño family is crowned, and grand cockfights attended by aficionados from all over the country.
Other Photos of Jaro Cathedral:
JARO CATHEDRAL: SUNDAY MASSES SCHEDULE
5:00 AM Hiligaynon Mass
6:30 AM English Mass
8:00 AM Hiligaynon Mass, Missa Pro Populo
9:30 AM English Mass
3:00 PM English Mass
4:30 PM Hiligaynon Mass
6:00 PM Hiligaynon Mass
7:30 PM English Mass