The Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Cebu City is relatively new. It was canonically erected on January 1, 1971 by the late Cardinal Julio Rosales. However, its foundation dates back to as early as June 1621 when the first Recollects set foot in Cebu. Bishop Arce gave them a place outside the walls of the city, with a small chapel (hermitage) dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Later on (in an undetermined date) a church was constructed in the place of the Hermitage which came to be known as the Recoletos church.
In 1964 the honored Recoletos Church gave way to the construction of a more spacious and modern one. It is elevated by four meters above the street; it is sixty-five meters long and twenty meters wide; it was constructed in such as way that the faithful can see the altar from all angles; it seats 1, 200 faithful at a time. It was dedicated by his Eminence Julio Cardinal Rosales on March 18, 1966. When it became a parish in 1971, Fr. Pio Santillana was appointed the first parish priest.
This church became likewise the center of devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in the South. Because of this devotion, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel became the patroness of the parish when it was erected in 1971. The original titular of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception was transferred to the Cathedral which has been the center of the cult of the Immaculate Conception from 1895 till at present. This church is also the center of devotion to Saint Joseph, Protector of the Order, and Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr.
Most of the parishioners of Mt. Carmel Parish belong to the lower socio-economic level, with a big number of adults having no permanent employment. Some of the parishioners, like temporary employees/workers and students, do not have permanent residence. It is the commitment of the Recollects to take care of the spiritual needs as well as look after the development and well-being of the parishioners, especially the poor ones. In this mission, they have been helped by the Administration, Staff and students of the University of San Jose-Recoletos. They have the assistance of the community outreach programs of the same University. This is a challenge for the present as well as the future Recollects who may be assigned in this field of apostolate.