St. Peter Thelmo Parish is famous for its religious activity called “black rosary.” It is a community rosary event held and conducted simultaneously by 11 barangays in Aparri. A lot of devotees join this religious activity. St. Peter Thelmo is the town’s patron saint. The church is located in Centro, Aparri, Cagayan.
In 1604, the church was erected for the evangelization of the natives. Priests supervised the construction of the church and evangelization work. The people referred to the place as “Aparrian,” an Ybanag word which translates to “where priests reside.”
It was in 1682 when Aparri was officially inaugurated and permitted ecclesiastical recognition, having St. Peter Thelmo as its patron saint.
The original church was constructed near the banks of Cagayan River, but was flooded and was later rebuilt. The church was burned and rebuilt no less than four times.
Its current location is where the original structure stood, but because of the World War II bombings, the structure was destroyed to the ground. The Baroque-style church went through an extensive renovation, where the only thing that’s left of the original structure after the war was the bell tower.
In 2010, Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan promoted the church to an Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary. The church is a testimony to the faith and commitment of the people of Aparri, after many destructions and rebuilding throughout centuries.
Parish priest Fr. Adalbert Barut stated that the annual “black rosary” synchronized event is conducted not only to recite the rosary. It is done to unite the community and teach them to love their fellow men as per the life of Christ chronicled in the mysteries of the rosary, daily gospel reading and reflection, and sharing of faith in the family.
Praying of the rosary at once unifies the Apparrianos. The neighborhood is seen as the beads of the rosary, connected, declaring their faith, love, and mission through the religious activity.