The San Antonio de Padua Parish Church is located in the municipality of Dorado. In 1842, the founding residents of the municipality began construction of the church and in June, 1848, the first mass was held.
The plans for the church date to 1826, when Dorado was part of the municipality of Toa Baja. After 22 years of work on the grounds donated by the leader of the settlement, Jacinto López Martínez, for the urban center of the town, the canonical foundation of the town of San Antonio del Dorado, commonly known as Dorado and devoted to San Antonio de Padua and Nuestra Señora del Rosario, took place in 1842. The first parish priest was the Dominican priest Esteban Mariano. Over the years, the parish has been led by members of the Augustinian, Vincentian and Holy Spirit orders. Since 1990, the Archdiocese of San Juan has been in charge of administrative matters.
The structure consists of a single story with a tower, a bell tower and a cross. In the interior are two naves with pews, separated by an arch. The presbytery is simple and has a chapel located in the center of the main wall with the image of Recumbent Christ on it. To the right is an image of San Antonio de Padua and to the left is an image of the fellow patron saint, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, both of which date to the 20th century. In 1909, a marble baptistry was added and it was restored in 2004, due to deterioration.
Because of the population growth of Dorado, a new temple had to be built to serve the numerous parishioners. The new temple, called Santuario Cristo de la Reconciliación, was begun with the support of the Espiritano Priests.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Dorado has a population of approximately 34,000 inhabitants. Of those, the parish attends to a population of about 17,000 residents.
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 17, 2014.
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