Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen

On 19 September 1982, the multitude of acts of blessing, consecration and inauguration were held

A century ago, Aguadulce belonged to Enix. His few neighbors survived by a subsistence economy based on mining, fishing and smuggling, according to researcher Juan Miguel Galdeano Manzano. When he joined Roquetas, in 1927, no one had the most remote idea that that stop by the sea, which began to populate on 1850, would become from the second half of the XX to a tourist center of first order.

They were few inhabitants, but in 1902 Mass was offered daily and the rosary was prayed by the old priest Antonio Hanza Blanes. According to the correspondent for “The Southern Chronicle”, the trades were performed in a “private property house gracefully ceded and made of improvised church without just religious decoration”. That box, used previously by its owner, Procurator José Luque, could well be the origin of the hermitage of the Virgin of Carmen. Also in the Holy Week of that year there was procession on Easter Sunday “with few means and poor ornaments”.


In 1922, a group of residents organized to claim from the bishop the construction of a church or the arrangement of the existing facilities because the cults took place “in an inadequate and very reduced place”. The issue had been discussed in the press between 1902 and 1908, but the shortage of funds and the episcopal commitment to cover other religious needs caused citizens to get fed up and start a donations petition campaign to reach their goal. And money began to come: of the Archbishop of Granada, of the Carthusian Fathers of Burgos and Zaragoza, of the bishop of the diocese or of Cinta Radigales, the mother of Maximus Cuervo, who did so much for Aguadulce.

In a list of 25 subscribers published in “The Independence” on April 21, 1923 the sum reached 4,350 pesetas, so it is presumable that the works of adaptation and expansion of the small chapel will begin at those dates under the supervision of Federico Guerrero, the new pastor. Three and a half years later, the hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Carmen was open to the cult, since on November 27, 1926 it received the funeral honors of the businesswoman Josefa Sánchez Mateos, known as Viuda de Agustín Martínez. Later came as parish priest Diego Martínez Torres, who was of the church of San Roque; and there, in the holy place for which the Cuervo family donated 500 pesetas, made his First Communion, in 1933, Isabel Cuervo Valseca, daughter of Máximo Cuervo Radigales.

That modest hermitage, on the edge of the road to the capital, fulfilled its pious function for more than half a century being a subsidiary church of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Roquetas. But, little by little, Aguadulce began its great urban transformation. The fields of cultivation were filled with houses and the plots of residential and leisure complexes. So on September 3, 1973 the parish of Carmen was created canonically and, in the following year, Bishop Manuel Casares Hervás ordered the priest Albojense Fernando Berruezo Sánchez (1935-2000), to take care of what is necessary for Aguadulce to have a new, large, modern, dignified and in keeping with the future of the barriada: search for land, financing, plans, construction, community of support...

Works parish of Aguadulce


The appointed priest had exercised his pastoral work in Mojácar and was responsible for the tourist pastoral, so his institutional contacts served, not without sacrifices and unveil them, to locate and write some lands of 3,200 square meters according to the project: bordering the branch and in the center of what in the seventies was Aguadulce: the old town, the urbanization and the area covered in the “Los Jardines”.

The illusionary next step of Berruezo was to appoint a commission to study and promote the project. It was composed of people's marriages, summer dwellers, a psychologist, a theologian, a sociologist and the architect Antonio Ortiz Gacto (1941-2011), a resident in love with Aguadulce that reflected in pencil drawings and drawings the proposals discussed. From the beginning it was clear that the church would have a double function: religious and cultural, thus arising its variant of auditorium. Ortiz Gacto gave himself fully to the design, providing his sensitivity and artistic value and renouncing his emoluments as a professional, as well as the Guillermo Zaragoza Sorroche.

The work began, although occasionally he suffered parons due to a shortage of budget. Only the first phase required ten million pesetas in materials and labor. El Obispado contributed a considerable amount and the Almeria Savings Fund also, but without the generous donations of the faithful the construction of the temple would have been prolonged forever. Even leaflets were printed in 1977, claiming help from the neighborhood. And there were people who delivered just two tough ones and a million pesetas... As the structure was seen, its spectacularity was confirmed: futuristic, Mediterranean, white, without edges and with an aspect of integral community services. And the interior very wide: up to 500 people sitting.


Almost completed, the first social-use units began to be filled with citizens in January 1982. They were intended for a reception centre, for Caritas Diocesana and for a community room; there were classes of machining, cutting and making or preparing the school graduate. Finally, the bishop decided that on Sunday, 19 September, at 11 a.m., it would be the blessing, consecration and inauguration of the new church. It lacked tower and bell tower and the altar was modest, but its interior was magnified with the magnificent stained glass window of the Indalian artist Luis Cañadas Fernández (1928-2013).

That day, 25 priests concelebrated the Mass presided over by the Archbishop of Granada, José Méndez Asensio, and by the bishops of Almeria and Guadix. The civilian governor, José María Bances Álvarez, and the mayor of Roquetas, Juan Emeterio Martínez Romera, led the very large group of authorities. The architect intervened, who assured that the study and construction of the church was “like prolonged spiritual exercises”.

Then, on the outside, a Spanish wine was served by “Mesón El Granduelo”, while children of Aguadulce danced and sang fandanguillos, sevillanas and bulerías. In the afternoon a magnificent concert of the Malaga Symphony Orchestra and the Santa Maria de La Victoria Coral took place. Mozart's works were interpreted and the soprano María José González, María José Pérez, contralto, Enrique Díaz, tenor, and José Luis Merlo, were involved.

Carmen Church. Aguadulce

Since 1982, the Church of Aguadulce has accomplished its pastoral and social work. After Berruezo, who later received the commission to lift the Santa Teresa in the park of Oliveros de la capital, several priests have managed the parish: Pedro María Fernández Ortega, Francisco López Moya, Antonio Jesús Martín Acuyo, Alberto Pelegrino Morales, Ramón Garrido or Miguel José Esteban Jerez.

Almost four decades later one of the unsatisfied desires of the promoters was realized: the construction of the bell tower, the tower and the cross. The architect Miguel Nieto Morales made the project suffraged by the roquetero City Council and installed three bells that were blessed on January 21, 2021. Months later the new marble altar of Macael, the tower and the baptismal font, of mother-in-law, and in the form of a shell was consecrated. A citizen dream fulfilled more than a century later.