In the history of our local Church, the Diocese of Malolos is blessed because some of the recognized heroes of our faith played an important role in its existence. One of them is the Franciscan San Pedro Bautista, one of the twenty-six (26) protomartyrs of Japan.

Among the fourth group of Franciscan missionaries in the Philippines, Fray Pedo Bautista arrived in the country in 1584. He was a great preacher, teacher and musician. Later, he became minister of Namayan (Santa Ana de Sapa), guardian of Convento de San Francisco de Manila and parish priest of Lumban, Laguna.

In 1586, he was appointed as custos or superior of all the Franciscans in the Philippines. During his tenure as custos, he was enthusiastic about establishing new pueblos in the provinces administered by his order. He also made sure in his leadership that he regularly visited the newly established parishes and doctrines.

During his tenure the towns of Quipayo, Cagsaua, Baao, Oas, Libmanan, and Buhi were established in Camarines; and the towns of Tanay, Baras, Longos, and Pakil in Laguna. The construction of the hermitage and convent in San Francisco del Monte was also started during his tenure; the Hospital de Aguas Santas de Maynit in Los Baños; the Hospital del Espiritu Santo in Cavite; and the Colegio de Santa Potenciana in Manila.

When the new Provincia de San Gregorio Magno of the Franciscans was established in the Philippines, he was again assigned as the guardian of the convent of San Francisco de Manila.

On behalf of the King of Spain, Governor General Gomez Perez Dasmariñas sent him to Japan as an ambassador in 1593. There he preached the Catholic faith in Osaka and Nagasaki. He was arrested and imprisoned along with fellow missionaries and some converts to the faith on December 8, 1596. Along with twenty-two others, Fray Pedro was tied to the cross with ropes and chains, and died as martyred after his body was impaled on February 5, 1597. He was canonized as a beato by Pope Urban VIII on September 14, 1627 and canonized by Pope Pius IX on June 8, 1862.

In our Diocese, San Pedro Bautista played an important role in the southern part of Bulacan which was then administered by the Franciscans. During his tenure as custos, he set the construction of a new stone church of Meycauayan in its new location after a typhoon destroyed the first church made of bamboo and thatch in 1588. At the same time, he also commissioned the construction of prayer tables for the Bocaue and Catangalan visit. In his guidance to Fr. Antonio Nombela, minister of Meycauayan, managed to find enough funds to spend on the construction of said churches. When San Pedro Bautista was promoted as a beato, it was decided to have a special memorial to him in the church of Meycauayan in recognition of his important contribution to the history of the parish.

Currently, the image of San Pedro Bautista can be seen enshrined in the renovated church of the Parish of San Francisco de Asis in the City of Meycauayan and in the retablo minor of the Cathedral and Basilica Minor of the Inmaculada Concepcion in the City of Malolos.

Saint Peter the Baptist, pray for us.

Written by:
Mr. Robby V. Dela Vega, DCSC Research Team


Cruikshank, Bruce. Spanish Franciscans in the Colonial Philippines, 1578-1898: Catalogs and analysis for a history of Filipinos in Franciscan parishes. Nebraska: Cornhusker Press, 2003.

Huerta OFM, Fr. Felix. Estado geográfico, topográfico, estadístico, histórico-religioso de la santa y apostólica provincia de S. Gregorio Magno. Imprenta de N. Sanchez, Binondo, Manila, 1865.

Platero OFM, Eusebio Gomez. Catalogo biografico de los religiosos Franciscanos de la provincia de San Gregorio Magno de Filipinas. Imprenta del Real Colegio de Santo Tomas, 1880.

San Antonio OFM, Juan Francisco de. Chronicas de la apostolica provincia de S. Gregorio, Papa, el Magno ... de religiosos descalzos de N.S.P. Francisco en las Islas Philipinas, China, Japon &c: Parte segunda... Impressa en la imprenta del vso de la propria provincia, sita en el convento de Nuestra Senora de Loreto del pueblo de Sampaloc, extramuros de la ciudad de Manila: por Fr. Juan del Sotillo, 1741.

Schoenstein OFM, Erwin. “San Pedro Bautista in the Philippines.” OFM Archives – Philippines. Accessed: February 1, 2023.

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