Church of the Gesù
Like the great churches in the history of architecture, the Gesù of the Ateneo de Manila University expresses the spirit of its epoch while proclaiming a faith that is rooted in tradition yet is constantly renewed. The Gesù in Rome, one of the glories of the Late Renaissance, observed the traditions of church design yet embodied a new concept of liturgical celebration: the primacy of the Word and the fuller attention of the assembly. The Gesù of the Ateneo is a building of the twenty-first century that celebrates the faith of two thousand years entering its third millennium.
From the outside, the Gesù appears like a giant triangle anchored on the ground and rising to a pinnacle that is a prism by day and a beacon by night. The soaring interior is an interplay of triangles that results in an exhilarating setting for communal celebration and a peaceful haven for solitary contemplation. Triangular forms repeated and evoked in the design suggest the Christian's constant invocation of the Blessed Trinity.
Thus the church is a prayer. Also, the church is a sign of the divine presence, a sign of the Triune God revealing Himself in various ways to his people. While the Lord is represented by the statue of the Sacred Heart, He is also symbolized in a prominent feature of the church. At night the illuminated pinnacle signifies Christ, the Light of the World, shining in the darkness and calling humankind to faith.
The orientation of the church follows an ancient tradition: the altar is towards the east and the entrance faces west. This positioning of the building has its origin in the early Church which celebrated the morning office facing east to greet the Lord who comes as the Sun of Justice and the Light of the World.
Every church is a symbol of the community that worships in it. The Gesù will be a symbol of the Ateneo community, comprising the Jesuits, administrators, faculty, students, and alumni, not only because it will be their place of worship, but especially because it will represent their concepts, preferences, and aspirations. The Gesù is probably the first church in this country that was designed through extensive consultation with the different sectors of its community. The many ideas and suggestions that emerged in meetings were incorporated in four different designs. From these four, the Ateneo community chose the one that best expressed its collective idea.
While stunningly modern, the Gesù is a fine example of Filipino architecture. The sheltering roof recalls the dominance of the roof in ethnic architecture. The structure is visually light, airy, and transparent. The combination of light and abundant space conforms to the Filipino ideal of "maaliwalas." The interior space flows to the outdoors, and the lush tropical vegetation around the church is brought in. The entrance expresses Christian and Filipino hospitality as the ends of the roof dip down to form what seem like arms extended in welcome.
The first church designed by architects Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Casas, the Gesù is an outstanding example of contemporary Filipino church architecture, an inspiring icon of the Ateneo de Manila University, and a fresh new symbol of an ageless faith.
Father Rodrigo D. Perez III
(Dom Bernardo Ma., OSB)
Rector, San Beda College
Gesù Liturgical Committee
Godofredo Alingal Hall
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Telephone: 426-6069 or 426-6001
Local : 4076 or 7111 Liturgist - Jerome
4076 or 5162 Chief Sacristan - Joey
Marketing and Property Administration Office
Room XH106, West Wing, Xavier Hall
Ateneo de Manila University
Directline and Facsimile : (632) 426-60-69
Trunkline : (632) 426-60-01 to 30
Local : 4071 – Booking and Reservations
4079 – Building Admin and Housekeeping
4075 – Gesu Church
4070 – Head