Sanctuary of St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church, Singalong, Manila

St. Anthony of Padua Parish Church, 
2126 Singalong St. corner San Andres St., Malate, Manila
Structural Engineer: Ronald Santiago, MACRO

The Renovation of the Sanctuary provides fresh focus on the Eucharist and on the life of St. Anthony of Padua. We drew inspiration from the strengths of the architecture created by Architect Carlos Santos-Viola.

The Tabernacle Tower is the new focus of the building. It draws your eye as soon as you walk through the front door. In the vastness of the interior, the focus does not equivocate. It is Christ on the cross.

As you approach, the other elements of the sanctuary become more legible. The altar table is a long, white, horizontal slab that sits improbably on three slender plant-like curves. On the left, the lectern is shaped like a large book resting on a single blade of grass. On the right, the baptismal font is a white, egg-like cradle perching on three slender leaves.

These elements are physical expressions of the iconography of St. Anthony of Padua: lily, bread, book, and Infant Jesus. The white plant-like curves represent the lily. The long white horizontal slab of the altar represents the symbol of bread. The lectern represents an open book. The baptismal font is not itself the symbol, but the backdrop of the symbol: each infant that is baptized at the font represents the Infant Jesus.

The lily symbolizes St. Anthony's purity and chastity. The open book represents his scholarship and knowledge of the Bible. The Infant Jesus is a symbol of tender love. Bread symbolizes the sustenance of life. (Two portraits of St. Anthony - by El Greco and Francisco de Zurbaran - served as our guides in the renovation.)

The juxtaposition of heavy objects upon lightweight objects - the open book resting on the lily, for example - alludes to miracles. In Roman Catholic tradition, St. Anthony of Padua is known as an instrument of God in the performance of miracles. 

St. Anthony, by El Greco

Before renovation