Our Lady of Loreto Church, Sampaloc, Manila


The convent of Loreto in Sampaloc was founded in the year 1613 by the Franciscan Provincial, Fray Blas de la Madre de Dios, as an alternative to the residence of the Franciscan friars living in San Francisco del Monte.

The Maestre de Campo, Don Pedro de Chavez and his wife. Dona Ana de Vera, ceded the land in Sampaloc to the Franciscans and donated to the construction of the convent and the church. Soon after, the residents of Sampaloc requested the City of Manila to separate Sampaloc from the spiritual jurisdiction of Santa Ana de Sapa. Thus, in the year, 1616, the Parish church of Nuestra Senora de Loreto was dedicated and Fray Augustin de Tordesillas assigned as the first parish priest. The church was burned down during the Chinese uprising of 1639 but was rebuilt by Fr. Andres Puertollano. Fr. Francisco Catarina enlarged the church around 1660. Around 1880, a terrible earthquake rocked Manila and damaged the church and convento. Fr. Pedro de Alcantara Flores del Pozo initiated the renovation and Fr. Ramon Caviedas (builder of the Sampaloc cemetery in Balic-balic) completed the job. The last recorded Franciscan priest assigned to Sampaloc was Fr. Pedro Flores Alcantara (1898).

On September 5, 1955, Fr. Ignacio was transferred to Pasay City and was replaced by Msgr. Jesus S. Tison who spearheaded the reconstruction of the "Dream Church."
After the fiesta celebration on December 1956, the provisional wooden church was demolished to pave the way for the reconstruction of a new and enlarged building that was completed in mid 1958.
Msgr. Tison recalled that every single cent that was used in the construction of the church came from parishioners of which they could call the church as their own.
The newly-built church was rededicated to Our Lady of Loreto on November 22, 1958 by His Eminence, Rufino J. Cardinal Santos D.D. who in his messsage said:  "On this highly recommendable occasion of the new church of Loreto's solemn blessing and dedication, we wish to convey our warmest greetings and congratulations to all those who, in one way or another, have succeeded in rebuilding this historical edifice, in order that it may continue to tend to the religious, social and moral upliftment of its constituency."
The erection of the church in this year was very significant because it was on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes that the church was destroyed in 1945 and in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes was it also rededicated to the Mother of God.
Under the administration of Msgr. Tison who became the first Vicar Forane of the Vicariate of Our Lady of Loreto in 1955, the church underwent some refurbishing and the construction of various projects including the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and the installation of the monument of Our Lady of Loreto done in bronze by the famous scultpor, Mr. Ed Castrillo in 1975.