Along the outskirts of Sampaloc District in the City of Manila is a unique Parish, for its seat is at the heart of the Catholic University of the Philippines.
For the past 70 years, the Santisimo Rosario Parish has been the spiritual haven of both the students of the University of Santo Tomas and of nearby residents.
During the turbulent months at the dawn of the Second World War, then Archbishop of Manila, the Most. Rev. Michael O’ Dougherty D.D. issued a decree on March 21, 1942, establishing the Santisimo Rosario Parish. One month later, on April 26, He presided over a Pontifical High Mass at the UST Chapel, with which he canonically inaugurated the parish, with Fr. Emiliano Serrano OP as its first pastor.
Under the care of the Dominican Fathers, the parish continued to grow as a community of faith with a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and imbued with the spirit of St. Dominic.Through the decades, parish organizations were organized, each giving its contribution to the parish’s evangelical mission.
The 80’s was a decade of many changes. This time, the parish was concerned in establishing a vibrant presence within its territorial jurisdiction. Processions began to be held outside the campus. Parish activities were brought to the streets. All these were initiatives of Fr. Gallardo Bombase, O.P., parish priest from 1985-1992.
After Fr. Bombase’s term, he was succeeded by a Dominican fresh from missionary work in Maco, Tagum in Davao. Fr. Jose P. Salazar, O.P. Fr. Salazar’s thrust was to further strengthen the Basic Ecclesial Commnunities in the Parish. As a true missionary pastor, he tirelessly visited every area of the parish, celebrating mass in the streets and visiting the sick.
Fr. Salazar’s term was cut short when Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Batanes. In 1996, the Santisimo Rosario Parish welcomed a new pastor in the person of Fr. Eugenio O. Cabillon, O.P. Fr. Cabillon carried over the advocacy of his predecessor to strengthen the BECs. He likewise initiated the revisiting of the parish mission-vision statements.
In the year 2003, another Dominican missionary became pastor of Santisimo Rosario Parish, Fr. Jaime C. Alamillo, O.P. He continued to look after the strengthening of the BECs, and at the same time improved the facilities of the parish, in particular, the parish office. A mezzanine was constructed to cater to the needs of the various parish organizations.
The next pastor of Santisimo Rosario Parish is a long-time University administrator who also served as Prior of the Dominican Fathers in UST. He likewise worked as a missionary in Ethiopia and in the United States. The Parish celebrated its 70th anniversary under the care of Fr. Franklin F. Beltran O.P..
Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., a young Dominican historian, was installed on January 12, 2016. He will oversaw the Parish’s 75th anniversary.
At present, the Parish is headed by Rev. Fr. Paul Reagan Talavera, O.P., who was installed as the 15th Parish Priest of the Santísimo Rosario Parish on June 4, 2019.