The 1969 Trinity Church
This third and final act opened in 1962 when a new parish priest from the mountains of Jala-jala came down to the hills of Balic-balic. Undaunted by the sight of two unfinished church structures and the wide parish ground filled with cogon grass that got flooded during the rainy season, Fr. Isidro Jose started the community to believe again in the possibility of building a new church.
Thus starting from 1963, the parish started to raise funds for a church designed by a woman architect, Beth Silva del Castillo, a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. By October 26, 1969, the new church was blessed and inaugurated by Msgr. Bienvenido M. Lopez, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Manila. This new 1969 church, designed along modern lines, contained elements of the Gothic church (the rose window at the center of the church façade) while stones of the 1932 church were incorporated at the back of the main altar.
The third and final act has been consummated. These Three Are Now One – the 1932 chapel, the Gothic church, and the 1969 modern church. No other major undertaking has captured the imagination of the parishioners as those long seven years of waiting and building between 1963 and 1969. Some might try to turn this 1969 church into a gymnasium or for some other use (an auditorium?) and build another church into the remaining wide space where the parking lots are located. I doubt if they will succeed. Subsequent parish fund-raising efforts will now be confined to major church repairs (leaking roofs, fading paint, broken tiles) or renovations (stained glass windows, stations of the cross, walkways). On the hills of Balic-balic, a church stands united in architecture and history by the common desire of a people to build One home for their beloved Trinity. The greater, and more difficult, part of the journey remains – the building of One Community.
Note: Photo-collage shows facade of funerary chapel (top left), right side of Gothic church (top right) and facade of 1969 church at time of blessing (bottom).