Nuestra Señora dela Purificacion
“Binmaley” derived its name from the Pangasinan phrase “nanmaliw ya baley”, meaning, a place or territory that has been converted into a “town” (baley) because it is believed that the town was formerly a part of the town of Binalatongan, now known as San Carlos City.
Binmaley is situated in the delta area of the Agno River, between the Capital of Pangasinan, Lingayen, & the commercial center, Dagupan City. Being the center of Aquaculture due to existence of natural ponds (pokok) & swamps, the town produces milk fish (bangus) & prawns. There are small industries of woodcraft, poultry and pottery. Two dreadful inundations in 1935 and 1972 are unforgettable to the people when the Church was not reached by the terrible floods. The Church was a place of refuge.
THE DOMINICAN MISSIONARIES
The first Missionaries arriving in Pangasinan were Augustinian monks and soon followed by Dominican Friars. In the beginning of the 17th century, the mantle of Order of Preachers (OP) consolidated the different Churches in Pangasinan under the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. The Archdiocese of NS stretched from Batanes Islands down to the towns of Northern and Central Luzon. In 1928 the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan was erected and in 1984, two dioceses were separated from the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan (1963), namely, Diocese of Alaminos (West) and Diocese of Urdaneta (East).
The inhabitants of Binmaley requested to be placed under their care in 1598 and thus entrusted to the vicar of Lingayen and later received its first vicar, Fr. Tomas Gutierrez,OP in 1627. The Catholic Directory of the Philippines 1988 gives as founding year of the Parochia de Nuestra Señora de la Purificacion in 1627..
The first generation Dominicans were zealous in their evangelization that produced two native Filipinos as co-operators in their missions, namely Alonso dela Madre de Dios (Lingayen: 1635-1639) and Domingo dela Encarnacion (Binmaley: 1633-1635), a native of Pangasinan, professed in Lingayen in 1630 and later worked in Binmaley before being re-assigned to the Cagayan Valley. The last Dominican Friar appointed as parish priest of Binmaley was Fr. Ulpiano Sanz, OP (1890-1898). It was from the Friars that the Binmaleynians inherited a deep love for our Lady as expressed in their frequent pilgrimages to Our Lady of Manaoag.
The church has been constructed in the 16th century. The original Church was transferred from its old site (now the hospital), and rebuilt in 1747 to the left side of the present bell tower which was finished by Fr. Barrozo, OP in 1754. Fr. Villanova, OP started an extensive renovation in 1860-1870 under the supervision of Fr. Felix Sanchez Cantador, OP who adorned the Church with a baptistry, five artistic retablos. The Church is built of transept (”arms”) to give the brick building a cruciform plan and crowned with a majestic Dome supported by 8 elegant columns with composite capitals. Fr. Lucio Asensio, OP became the vicar and followed Fr. Sanchez’s plans until the renovation was completed in 1871-1878.
Its church bell is one of the three biggest bells in the Philippines, cast in 1804 weighing 4,130 pounds. The bell tower (32m) survived a 1745 fire. It was damaged during the World War II. The church was destroyed and only the walls and the tower, partly damaged, were left by the shelling of the American warship from January 7-9, 1945.
THE FILIPINO PRIESTS
The first Filipino priest was Fr. Mawricio Ma. “Preysbetero” Bello y Peralta. He was succeeded by Fr. Lorenzo Guarin and later by Fr. Segundo Urbi y Oandasan who donated to “Colegio Seminario de Vigan” his books from his library in Binmaley. He also suggested that the corner lot in Luna Street and Plaza should either be used as convento or Catholic School. Fr. Manuel Corrales (1924-1932) succeeded Fr. Urbi.
Despite the tragedy and revolts that befell the Catholic Church in Pangasinan, rays of hope quietly emerged. Dedicated Filipino priests took over where the Spanish priests left. With the coming of the Americans, four diocesan native clergy took over in succession the Binmaley Parish from 1898 to 1932.
THE SVD MISSIONARIES
As early as July of 1931, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) missionaries were in Binmaley. The first bishop of the Diocese of Lingayen, Msgr. Cesar Ma. Guerrero, wanted to open a seminary and the SVD accepted the administration of the school. The parish was officially turned over to the SVD's on June 6, 1932. The contract was signed by Fr. Superior General William Gler with Frs. Collins, Theodore Buttenbruch and Hergeshelmer representing the SVD. The SVD Missionaries intended that the pastoral care for the Binmaley parish serves as a model of a good parish administration taught to seminarians.
Fr. Juan Salzmann (1932-1945) was the first SVD Parish Priest. Involved into proper pastoral work, he had to build a new convent which was renovated 76 years later which still stands at present. Archbishop Federico Limon, SVD ranked it among the best conventos around. Fr. Francis Kutscher (1945-1956) took over as the parish priest in 1945. Fr. William Vergoossen became the parish priest in 1956. He completed the colored windows started by Fr. Kutscher illustrating the seven sorrows and seven joys of Mary. Church pews were replaced; walls were whitewashed and ceiling was put over the Church’s transept. All these were done for the 1957 Archdiocesan Christ the King Celebration.
Fr. Emilio Castro (1958-1965), a SVD native of Binmaley, became the first Filipino Cura Parocho. He had the tower repaired and installed the biggest bell outside Manila and stands now at the base of the tower in the Patio. Fr. Louis Beller (1965-1983) was the parish priest in 1965 assisted by Fr. Maniwang. He constructed the marble altar in the crossing of the Church’s long aisle and the transepts, just beneath the “cimborio”, the Dome. Fr. August Herbers took charge the Binmaley parish from 1983 to 1989. From 1989 -1990 Fr. Alberto Viernes, a native of Urdaneta, was the last SVD parish priest of Binmaley. The SVD Missionaries formed parish ministries and the people and handed over the Parish to the Archdiocese on May 11, 1990.
Up to the present, the presbyterium of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan has continued to provide the faithful spiritual nourishment through liturgy, apostolates and parish renewal formations (PASIMBALO) aligned to the Archdiocesan thrust of COMMUNIO as deemed important and relevant through the years. The journey to holiness has always without challenges. Only through persevering faith that Jesus is known and God is closer to the people. Indeed, the LUMEN EVANGELII continues to shine among the faithful of the Pangasinan.
Built in 1627 by Spanish friars, Our Lady of the Purification Church in Binmaley is one of the oldest churches in Pangasinan. The rich cultural aesthetics of this religious landmark mirror centuries-worth of timeless heritage of the town, as its first construction was finished in 1754 by Fr. Barrozo. The first ever vicar to be assigned in Our Lady of the Purification was Father Tomas Gutierrez by the Dominicans, and this assignment marked the first documentation of this church’s history in 1627. The Dominicans took care of this church until the revolution in 898. From 1898 to 1932, the Diocesan clergy then took care of the church.
During this Diocesan period, the first bishop of Lingayen, Msgr. Cesar Ma Guerrero, accepted the “Society of the Divine Word” (SVD) administration for the proposed school and opened the seminary in January 6, 1932. The artistic and rustic architectural facet of the church is truly a beautiful visual gift to anyone who visits to appreciate the art, history and spiritual atmosphere of this parish. The wide, circular opening of the ceiling by the hundreds-old altar can truly take you to a meditative state, while the old sculptures and chandeliers are visual treats. Some of the attractions also of the church are its very old, well-preserved church bells outside, which date way back from the 1880s. The spacious front yard and backyard are also ideal for long walks filled with heritage and spiritual feel.