PIDDIG, Ilocos Norte: The 204-year-old St. Anne Parish in this heritage town held its final mass on Sunday after engineering experts from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts declared the old building “unfit” for human occupancy.
For community residents, the solemn and sad closing of the church will remain a part of history as the building holds a lot of memories from birth to grave of every Roman Catholic faithful.
Fr. Joey Ranjo, spokesman of the Diocese of Laoag, said Bishop Renato Mayuga finally declared the closing of the church that offered baptism, matrimony and funeral service among others.
“The building will be kept that way and its historial value remains,” Fr. Ranjo said.
Meanwhile, a temporary shade was set up within the church compound for the conduct of church rites while waiting for the construction of a new church here.
In 1810, the St. Anne parish was founded by Augustinian friars. Its first parish priest was Fr. Isidro Champaner. During the Philippine-American War, the building was inhabited by a five-member Filipino guerilla group who repelled early American attacks.
An earthquake toppled the top level of the bell tower on March 19, 1932. The church underwent repairs afterward.
During the Japanese occupation, the convent and the sacristy together with its parochial records, furniture and statues were burned. The facade and its interior were restored in 1965.
On the other hand, the convent was repaired and converted into a parochial school.