The Diocese of Balanga has designated seven town-parishes founded by the early Spanish Dominican Fathers as perpetual pilgrimage churches and sites in the entire province of Bataan.
Bishop Ruperto C. Santos said this is in line with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI declaration of a year of Faith from Oct. 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, to Nov. 24, 2013, the Feast of Christ the King.
The churches in seven town-parishes are San Pedro de Varona Church in Hermosa; Church of Orani; St. Catherine of Siena in Samal; St. Dominic Church in Abucay; St. Joseph Cathedral in Balanga City; Our Lady of the Pillar in Pilar; and St. Michael de Arcanghel in Orion.
Santos said pilgrimages to these churches and shrines will involve prayer and reflection.
In a small book entitled "A Pilgrimage of Faith in Bataan" authored by Santos, the bishop said Spanish missionaries of Saint Dominic de Guzman sowed the seed of Christianity first in Abucay on June 10, 1588; then in Samal on April 30, 1641; Orion on April 30, 1667; both Orani and Balanga on April 21, 1714; Hermosa on May 8, 1756 and Pilar on March 10, 1801.
The interior and exterior walls of the churches were renovated. The cement covering the walls, especially on the altar, was removed and either the adobe or brick walls were exposed.
Most of the churches were built with adobe or bricks depending on which materials were plentiful during those periods.