NOTE: We are appealing to Pope Francis to look into the disappearance of the miraculous 111-year old San Pascual Baylon Han Guinarona image. The circumstances behind the precious icon’s disappearance point to an inside job.
In 1903, in the midst of a cholera epidemic, THE FOUNDERS OF GUINARONA sent Timoteo Daclizon to Manila to procure the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON, known far and wide to possess miraculous powers. Residents of Guinarona offered contributions in the form of cash, abaca, palay and coconut for the purchase. Contributions totaled two pesetas, a substantial amount during that time.
Dagami’s Parish Priest, then was Fr. Manuel Pascasio.
After a month-long voyage by sea, the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON arrived in Tacloban City. The barrio founders met the image at Dagami after which a procession followed, bringing it to Guinarona.
As oral history would have it, SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s first miracle was when the cancerous lesions on Pedro Tibe’s foot healed after a handkerchief patted on the image was placed on it. News about the miracle spread like wild fire and pilgrims flocked to Guinarona by the hundreds. Because of their sheer numbers, some pilgrims had to stay overnight in Guinarona. San Pascual’s image was then in the care of Raymundo Casarilla.
Guinarona’s reputation as a pilgrim’s mecca gradually spread in Leyte and Samar, and this contributed in no small measure to the prosperity of the place. Guinarona then had all sorts of businesses mostly owned by Chinese traders.
The image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s accumulated much cash from its devotees such that in no time a church was built, initiated by barrio illustrados such as Francisco Benitez, Alfonso Maray, Fernando Sudario, Esperedion Raquel, Raymundo Casarilla and Basilio Raquel.
The church and convent were completed in time for the second fiesta celebration, Don Alfonso Maray having been voted as the first Hermano Mayor.
On April 30, 1930, a big typhoon hit Leyte, totally destroying the church and the convent. It was so strong that the entire church was blown to a distance of about six meters from the original site. The altar was also destroyed, but the image of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON was well intact as though nailed to the floor. After the disaster, the Parish Priest of Dagami, Fr. Pedro Aruta, enjoined the people of Guinarona to build a temporary chapel for SAN PASCUAL BAYLON’s image.
Upon the initiative of Jose Raquel and Teniente del Barrio Apolonio Bacal, son-in-law of Antonio Justimbaste, the church was built as pilgrims doubled in number.
On November 5, 1971 at 7:00 AM, Guinarona was inaugurated as the Parish of SAN PASCUAL BAYLON during the visit of Msgr. Manuel S. Salvador, Bishop of Palo. The creation of Guinarona as a separate parish came about through the noble efforts of illustrious Guinaronanhon, the late Msgr. Esteban Justimbaste, the Vicar of Carigara Parish. Guinarona’s first parish priest was the ebbulient Fr. Romeo Mazo.