For five long years I have been a student of Architecture at the oldest university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas. Everyday I go in through the P. Noval gate and pass the university chapel, but I can probably count on my fingers (toes included, if that counts lol) the number of times I’ve been inside its hall.
To compensate for such, I’m dedicating a whole article for the Santisimo Rosario Parish, the proper name of the chapel (which most Thomasians, I doubt ever know, well including me. Shameful I know.)
The parish was inaugurated in 1942 during the height of the Second World War in the Philippines. It once housed the image of Our Lady of La Naval when its original sanctuary in Intramuros was bombed by the Japanese. The Virgin stayed at the chapel for 12 years before it was brought back to the new Sto. Domingo Church in Quezon City through a solemn procession.
The chapel serves as a sanctuary against the noisy environment of the university. Here, both faculty and students find solace to pray and reflect.
My first time to step inside the chapel was during my first year of college. I was actually impressed by its interior. It wasn’t as grand as other churches, but is has a clean beauty to it. Everything seemed to be placed just right. Geometric is actually what came to mind when I first saw a glimpse of its interior.
The Santisimo Rosario Parish is actually quite huge for a chapel, but too small to be a full pledged cathedral or basilica. It’s somehow a cross between the two, large but just enough not to take away its intimate atmosphere.
On this particular visit, I was surprised to note a metal pipe organ on its choir loft. It’s actually something that I haven’t noticed during my school days. I promptly asked the guard if I can photograph it, and was given a go signal with the help of a priest. The organ is quite grand, standing about 12 feet tall by my estimate, but it is unfortunately inoperable.
I would have loved to show off my photo of the huge pipe organ, but it seemed my memory card decided to corrupt a dozen or so shots that I took.
Deleted photos notwithstanding, I think I still got a few keepers that showed the essence of the church of my college years. I may not have visited it as much as I should during my university days, but I surely do appreciate its subtle grandeur and intimate solemnity now. As the saying goes, better late than never.
UST Chapel – Santisimo Rosario Parish
University of Santo Tomas, Espana, Manila
Mass Schedule: Mon-Sat: 5:15AM | Sat: 6:15PM | Sun: 6:00AM - 11:00AM, 4:00PM - 8:00PM
Open to the Public