The Immaculate: 70 years

This past May 1, the 70 years of having been erected as a parish our much loved church of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated, nestled in the heart of the El Prado neighborhood as an icon of the Catholic faith and also as a building that is part of the heritage architectural and historical of our city. The land on which this temple stands was donated by Manuel De La Rosa and Robert Parrish. I have tried to know the name of its architect, but the information obtained is limited to the fact that the plans were brought from Panama by the lawyer Marco Tulio Mendoza Amarís and his wife, Mrs. Emma Lince. I have also not found the architectural style of this, even inquiring with architects and designers, who do agree is that it is a mixture of several styles, among them the so-called late baroque, which is why I would qualify as eclectic in very basic ways but with great harmony. In Google I did not find a similar church in Panama, but I did find some in the United States, the states of Arizona, Texas and California, so it has a lot of Californian Spanish. What is clear is that its altar of the Sacred Heart, as well as all the wood carving work, which is beautiful, was made by the master José Perales.

Something very interesting in the history of our church of La Inmaculada, is the fact that in these 70 years already completed, the parish has only been presided over by eight parish priests, in their order the following priests: Fr. Ciro Alfredo Ávila, Pbro. José María Goenaga Diago, Pbro. Carlos Julio Becerra, Pbro. Jorge Becerra Jiménez, Mons. Luis Eduardo Gómez, Mons. Reinaldo Iriarte, Priest. Edgar Alberto Llanos, and currently by Fr. Giovanny Manuel Sanjuán Castro. It is known to all that it has been the Immaculate Conception, the spiritual home of thousands of Barranquilla families and the church chosen to celebrate their marriages by hundreds of very prominent figures from the city and the country, which is why it is part of the history of infinity of Barranquilleros of birth or adoption.

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Following a column on April 29, 2014 that I titled “Our domes off,” Christian Dáes responded by promising to illuminate a church, and after a tour of the city, I chose the Immaculate Conception. Christian complied and the Tecnoglass Group with his company Alutrafic, they designed and installed spectacular lighting at that time, highlighting its main facade and both sides, in addition, in a special way the stained glass windows illuminated from inside so that at night they could be seen from the street . Now, as a result of his 70th birthday, my Rotarian friend José Emilio Velásquez, a great collaborator in that parish, told me about Father Giovanny Sanjuán’s interest in the church showing its best face. I went to Christian again to illuminate their outdoor trees and palm trees and optimize the lighting that they had installed more than 6 years ago. Today it is the most beautifully lit building in the city. I did the same with Alberto Salah, manager of the District Infrastructure Agency, ADI, to beautify the small park in front of that church and the exterior gardens, and in a kind and diligent way he put the fountain to work. Today it is already included in the list of those who will be served by the magnificent program “Todos al Parque”. The Immaculate Conception completed its 70 years of parish life showing its best clothes. I invite everyone to appreciate it at night, when this pandemic allows us.


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