San Vicente Parish

 

San Vicente Village, one of the small villages in Saipan in 1951 began with eight families, a population of approximately forty people.  The first family to settle was the family of Joaquin S. Tudela, followed by Mariano c. Borja, Jose Fejeran, Juan Cepeda, Miguel Camacho, Cecilia Tydingco, Roman Tudela and Prudencio M. Cabrera. Joaquin S. Tudela was selected to be the first village Commissioner and his first order of business was the construction of a mission chapel.  After consultation with the people and approval by the island Commander at the time, an elephant Quonset was selected to be used as a mission chapel.

The original Chamorro name of San Vicente Village  was Tuturam. It was named after the seafoods from the rocky shores of the village.  When the first mission chapel was erected, Mother Teresa Cortoza, M.M.B. suggested to Victoria a daughter of Joaquin S. Tudela, to have San Vicente Ferrer as their Patron Saint. Action was immediately taken and village Tuturam was renamed to San Vicente Village.  Then, Capuchin Fr. Arnold Bendowske, the Pastor of Mt. Carmel Church-Saipan, brought the statue of San Vicente Ferrer from Spain for the village chapel.  This is the statue of San Vicente Ferrer currently enthroned  in the present San Vicente Church.

 In 1968, Typhoon Jean destroyed the mission chapel Quonset building, and the government built a temporary wooden structure chapel on a private land donated by Cruz family. In 1968, the people of San Vicente Village felt the need for a new and permanent Church.  And so, fundraising activities began. On June 1, 1976, Monsignor Tomas A. Camacho, after many years of pastoral ministry on Guam was assigned by the Most Reverent Felixberto C. Flores to head the Catholic Mission in the Northern Marianas as its Episcopal Vicar and the same time, appointed to San Vicente as Pastor.

On January 22, 1979, Monsignor Tomas A. Camacho called a special meeting of all the people in the parish to decide the future of the permanent Church.  The first order of business was the election of the 10-member San Vicente Parish Council which compromised  of Vicente N. Santos, Juan M. Sablan, Moses T. Fejeran, Roman T. Tudela,  Jose M. Guerrero, Leon T. Camacho, Herman Q. Guerrero, Antonio M. Camacho, Pedro Dela Cruz and Alejandra S. Cruz.

Prior to the construction of the new Church in April of 1980, Monsignor Vicente T. Martinez  was assigned to Saipan from Guam and assumed the pastorship of San Vicente Parish and San Antonio Parish. Finally, on May 20, 1981, the the long awaited dream of people of San Vicente came to a jubilant reality when the cornerstone was laid to begin building the House of God. On December 23, 1982, the keys of the new Church were handed to Monsignor Vicente T. Martinez. This day marked the completion of the new Church. On February 5, 1991, Monsignor Martinez died of a terminal  illness and his associate Pastor, Rev. Father Manuel Ombao, a priest on loan from the Philippine Diocese of Sorsogon, succeeded him and was officially appointed Pastor on March 17, 1991. On July 10, 1993, Roger P.T. Tenorio, a native of Saipan, was ordained priest by His Excellency Bishop Tomas A. Camacho and, on August 29, 1993, appointed Pastor of San Vicente Parish. At present, the Parish of San Vicente continues to grow as one community, faithful to God.

 

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