University of the Philippines Chapel – Church of the Holy Sacrifice

Church of the Holy Sacrifice (formerly Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice) / Location: University of the Philippines (UP) Campus, Diliman, Quezon City / Built 1947-55 / Architect: Leandro V. Locsin

More popularly known as the UP Chapel, the Chapel of the Holy Sacrifice was constructed at the request of Fr John P. Delaney, SJ, who began ministering to the spiritual needs of the UP campus in 1947. The chapel was dedicated on 20 December 1955 by Rufino J. Santos, Archbishop of Manila, at a midnight ceremony preceded by a candlelit procession.University of the Philippines Chapel

National Artist Leandro Locsin, then a young architect, chose the round plan as the most suited for giving the congregation a sense of participation in the Community Mass. The altar, elevated from the floor by three steps, is dead center of the plan. Liturgical reform in Europe, which subsequently spread to the Philippines, called for active participation in the Mass and encouraged community singing. The separation of choir and congregation was effectively eliminated. The ceiling of the chapel, a concrete dome, was left bare. Dramatic use of colored lights marks the changing seasons of worship. The chapel was intended to be completely open so that students could visit the Blessed Sacrament at any time.

Vicente Manansala was commissioned to paint the mural-sized Stations of the Cross and Arturo Luz to design the floor mural, executed in terrazzo, radiating from the altar outward and depicting the river of life. Fernando Zobel de Ayala made studies to fill the outer wall with calligraphic representations of the virtues and sacraments, but the project was never executed. Napoleon V. Abueva sculpted the back-to-back images of Christ crucified and Christ risen. The chapel’s altar, formerly a wooden sculpture in which the tabernacle was hidden, has been replaced by a marble one, also sculpted by Abueva.

In May 1977, the UP chaplaincy was elevated to territorial parish by Jaime Cardinal L. Sin with Msgr Manuel “Manny” Gabriel as first parish priest. The creation of a territorial parish changed the composition of the parish population from a university community to a wider community. The chapel became a church that served the needs of a usual parish. The basement of the adjoining priest’s residence was converted to a mortuary.

The church’s open structure exposed it to damage by weather and vandalism. To prevent vandalism, the chapel lot was enclosed with a fence with gates opened and closed at set times. The vision of Fr Delaney of a church open 24 hours a day had to meet the challenges of a more crowded and mobile city. The enclosure invited the development of the church lot by the building of a labyrinth and a garden extolling the value of protecting nature. But the enclosure and garden physically and symbolically separated the church from the university.

SOURCE: Manila News-Intellegencer (1991)

Originally posted 2010-11-23 02:04:31.