Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas
A brief history of the arrival of the Dominicans in the Philipines.
It was in the course of the expansion of the Dominicans’ missionary activities in Pangasinan that Mangaldan ('manga-alay Adan' or 'manga-gal galan') was founded. Almost immediately after Binalatongan, the Dominicans founded Gabon (the present Calasiao) which, together with Binalatongan, was accepted by the first Dominican Provincial Chapter as a vicariate on June 10, 1588 under the patronage of St. Dominic. The town of Mangaldan that we know today, formed a part of this town as a “visita”. It became the third town in Pangasinan and a center wherefrom the Dominicans spread the Faith among its neighboring towns – Manaoag, San Jacinto and San Fabian.
The Dominicans were aware of this encouraging result of their missionary endeavors. So, in their sixth Provincial Chapter, held at the Santo Domingo Convent in Manila on June 2, 1600, they accepted Mangaldan as a separate Vicariate under the aegis of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas. The pertinent Act of the Provincial Chapter reads: In Domo Sancto Thoma de Aquino de Mangaldan (quam nunc acceptamus dividentes eam a domo S. Pauli de Calasiao) instituimus et de novo creamus in vicarium R. P. Petrum de Ledesma et ibi eum assignamus declarantes praedictum vicarium habere vocem et ibi assignamus Fr. Tomas Castellar.
As a new mission parish, Mangaldan was given by the same Provincial Chapter of 1600 its first vicar in the person of Fr. Pedro de Ledesma who was given an assistant, Fr. Tomas Castellar. The fact that Fr. Ledesma was given an assistant could mean that at the time of its creation as a vicariate Mangaldan had, at least, a population of 600 Christian souls. This conclusion finds its support in a provision of the First Synod of Manila in 1582 which concluded that "the spiritual care of more than 600 souls could not, in fact, in 1591, bentrusted to only one pastor." As a matter of fact, in 1591, statistics show that Mangaldan had 800 "tributantes" or a population of about 32.000. As a new vicariate, Mangaldan fell within the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Nueva Segovia (residing then at the episcopal See in Lal-loc, a small town along the Rio Grande of Cagayan) who had jurisdiction over the provinces of Northern Luzon. However, it has to be noted here that Mangaldan was, at that stage, only a "mission-parish" as per the classification of the Laws of the Indies. It remained as such until 1776 when the parochial system was introduced by Archbishop Basilio Sancho de Santa y Rufina and was eventually adopted by the different dioceses of the Philippines. This means that, as a mission-parish at the time of its separation from Calasiao up to 1776, or until the term of Fr. Jose Quiros (1770-1781), Mangaldan was not subject to the Royal Patronage and to canonical or diocesan visitation.
Source: "Mangaldan: 1600-1898" by Rev. Fr. Rafael S. Magno. Maramba Press. Dagupan City. 1981. pp.11-12 and 25-27.
400th Anniversary of the parish church of Saint Thomas Aquinas
of Mangaldan. The old and new church.
Philippines 2000, Mi 3152, Sc 2676.
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