Art As A Veritable Expression of Faith in Marikina's Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish

Friday, December 11, 2015


It's not a new concept: combining artistry and faith. In fact, it's a truth universally acknowledged that churches house the best collection of paintings and sculptures. Churches, themselves, are great examples of architectural masterpieces.

It was then not surprising, when I stepped into Marikina's Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned (OLA), and found incredible visual art in all its corners.
Ina ng Mga Walang Mag-ampon  – Marikina's patroness 
Photo courtesy of Father Nante
The transformation of OLA from a quaint simple church began in 2009, when Father Nante Tolentino, a native of Angono, started incorporating the culture of artistry he had been exposed to as a child into the structure and elements of the church. And through the combined efforts of the Pastoral and Finance Council, and OLA's parishioners, the beautification of the church soon went underway.

With commissioned works from Angono artist Nani Reyes, realistic 3D paintings of arcs and pillars made by Batangas artist Rex Papasin, highly photogenic Machuca tiles, and the old-school feel that colored glass windows bring, OLA has become one of the most beautiful and most sought-after churches in Metro Manila – with up to and over 60 weddings during the peak months of December and January, and up to 30 during regular months!
tinapay ni ola
Nani Reyes and one of his paintings inside the church
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Believe it or not, most of the elements of this dome are optical illusions.
by Rex Papasin
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The entire church floor is paved with different kinds of Machuca tiles
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Isn't it beautiful how the colored glass windows catch the late afternoon sunlight?
The art features saints and angels, OLA's devotional procession every fourth Saturday of the month, and a community outreach program called "Tinapay ni Ola" where a group of bikers roam around Marikina and distribute sandwiches and breads to the homeless.
our lady of the abandoned marikina
Nani Reyes' depiction of OLA's monthly devotional procession
our lady of the abandoned marikina
Nani Reyes' Tinapay ni Ola

"'We wanted to have a beautiful church for a beautiful Lady,'" shares Father Nante, when asked about the inspiration behind the artistic change. 
a second chance movie film
Trivia: Father Nante is the priest who administered the "wedding" in A Second Chance
Photo courtesy of Father Nante
With people flocking to OLA not only to pray but also to appreciate the artistic expressions of their faith, I would say a "beautiful church" had, indeed, been built.

Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned 
J.P. Rizal cor. V. Gomez Sts., Sta. Elena, Marikina

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