The St. Thomas Aquinas Parish is a Roman Catholic church complete with a towering belfry situated in the town of Mangaldan in Pangasinan province. The pilgrim site is centuries old.
Patron saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, is noted to be the patron of knowledge. Devotees who wish to pass their examinations, especially those who take the bar and board exams, come here to pray for their result.
The Dominican missionaries founded the Parish. Initially, Mangaldan was a part of Calasiao until the Dominican missionaries took it upon themselves to create an independent parish under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas on June 2, 1600. Its first church was built of regular sections.
The Dominican missionaries said that of all the natives of Pangasinan, the people of Mangaldan were the most difficult to convert. A man named Casipit even tried to push them out of the town. However, he was converted by Fr. Pedro Soto successfully. He also donated a large amount of money for the construction of the first church.
The second church was built in 1812 by Fr. Lorenzo Martin. However, the church, together with the big chapel in the cemetery, collapsed during an earthquake in 1892.
The construction of the sixth and present church stands there today. It was built in 1942 by Fr. Juan Sison as the structure that was built before were heavily damaged by earthquakes and burned by revolutionaries. Fr. Leon Bitanga completed the construction 20 years later. Since 1962, the parish church’s physical structure has not been severely changed but had little renovations.
Its main altar, side retablos (altarpieces), and ambo (an oblong pulpit) were renovated with the aid and contributions of the people, and blessed in March 2016. The Vitreartus Liturgical Arts created the side retablos and ambo.
Inside the modern church, visitors can see the magnificent paintings of the Station of the Cross. Devotees will find appreciation over the details of these hundred-year-old paintings.