Archdiocesan Museum re-opens

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Friday, December 13, 2013


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Archdiocese of San Fernando Museum and Archives were re-opened to the public by the Church hierarchy led by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David on Wednesday.

The museum and archives, housed at the 2nd level of the Chapel of the University of the Assumption here, were established in 1979 by Archbishop Oscar Cruz as the permanent repository of the "handiwork and possessions" of the Kapampangans that depict their customs, tradition, ways of life, their philosophy and their rich faith.

Bishop David said that during the term of Archbishop Cruz, he prohibited the alienation of important properties of the parish churches and directed the parish priests to turn these over to the Archdiocese.

At that time, some old sculptures and other antiques from heritage churches in Pampanga were already acquired by collectors and museums in other parts of the country.

The prohibition resulted in more than 800 collections which are now housed in the Archdiocesan Museum and Archives. These include relics of saints, old images by local artists, vintage liturgical books, sacramentals and vestments, and architectural artifacts.

"I consider the museum in San Agustin Church (Intramuros) as an extension of this museum since many of the items there were from the old churches in Lubao, Betis and other towns which were built by the Augustinians," said the prelate.

The museum, added, is "dedicated to every Kapampangan in recognition of their cultural legacy and spiritual heritage and their endearing contribution to the building of the nation and the Catholic faith."

The museum gallery is composed of the permanent exhibition area, an atrium for thematic display and a hall dedicated to the Virgen de los Remedios. Monsignor Eugene Reyes said the lobby will be used for lectures on the Kapampangan Church.

Reyes explained that the 19th century “urnas”--- which were on display during the re-opening--- were very significant to the Kapampangan faithful. Called in the vernacular as “bale Apung Guinu” or house of God, no Kapampangan homes in the past were without an “urna” which were usually ornately carved from wood like kamagong, molave and narra, and encased in glass.

Meanwhile, church records are currently being digitized in the archives. The documents are rich sources for research since they contain important information from the early years of the Church in Pampanga, which can be used as basis in writing the history of the Kapampangan church.

Also present during the re-opening ceremonies were UA president Fr. Joselito C. Henson, vice-president for administration Fr. Victor Nicdao, vice-president for academic affairs Dr. Mediatrix Martin and members of the Pampanga clergy, religious, seminarians, historians and advocates of heritage preservation.

The re-opening of the Archdiocesan Museum and Archives is one of the programs of the Archdiocesan Commission on Church Heritage.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 14, 2013.

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