According to the official website of the San Jacinto Dioceses, the history of the church goes back to the beginnings of the XVI century, when it was located in the existing parish of Cone and the Vuelta Larga village. Saint Jacinto of Cracow is the patron saint of the church, which was a reformer of the feminine monasteries of Poland. The first inhabitants of Yaguachi settled in that location.
Priest Nicanor Espinoza, vicar of the place, built the temple in wood and cane with the help of the villagers, which was inaugurated on July 14, 1844. In 1901, the building was replaced by one made of imperishable wood, until 1942 when the construction of a concrete temple started with the arrival of priest Manuel Paz Ruiz, whose works were completed fourteen years later, in 1956. The temple remains until today.
On August 7, 1977, the church was consecrated and elevated to Archdiocesan Sanctuary, by the then archbishop of Guayaquil, Monsignor Bernardino Echeverria Ruiz. On June 18, 1980, Pope John Paul II declared it Minor Basilica, in recognition of the feverous devotion for Saint Jacinto. Finally, on November 4, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI elevated the Minor Basilica to Cathedral.
Festivities of San Jacinto
The saint festivities of San Jacinto are one of the largest and most important religious traditions of the Guayas province, which are celebrated in Yaguachi on August 16 of every year. Approximately 600.000 pilgrims and tourists attend the pilgrimage. The festivities date back to the times of the colony and constitute one of the most important cults of catholic faith.
There are several stories about the devotion to Saint Jacinto, but the most accepted if the one that says that the image appeared in a painting hanged in a leafy pechiche tree, in a place located 7 km away from the crossing of the Daule and Babahoyo rivers. The people that saw the image went to tell the parish priest and together carried the painting in a procession to the chapel starting the well-known tradition.
According to several authors, a Spanish citizen who lived in Poland for a long time brought the painting to the country in the middays of the XVI century; he moved to Ecuador to stay in the country and start his wood business. He traveled to Yaguachi to extract the wood and after finishing his work he hanged the painting in gratitude to venerate it. Stories tell that sometimes the painting disappeared from the owner’s house and appeared hanging from the tree; therefore, he decided to donate it to the parish.
Its eclectic style based in the combination of elements from different eras and styles like colonial, rustic, modern, among others.
One of the most important traditions of Guayas is the saint festivity of San Jacinto, which is celebrated in Yaguachi during the month of August, specially between the 15 and 17; several religious, artistic, sports, commercial and tourist activities are carried out during those days.
The most relevant part of the festivities is the religious procession in honor of San Jacinto, which takes place on August 16 and whose pilgrimage has the participation of approximately 600.000 pilgrims and tourists from different parts of the city.
The festivity, whose origin dates back to the times of the colony, represents one of the most important cults of catholic faith. During the procession, the image of San Jacinto is carried through several streets of the city until reaching the Main Church where the priest celebrates a mass.