2 churches elevated to national shrine status

July 8, 2024 - 11:36 AM
1075
(CBCP News)

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Saturday has designated two parish churches as national shrines.

These churches are the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption in Maasin City and Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Novaliches, Quezon City.

The decision was made on the first day of the CBCP’s 128th plenary assembly at Chai Conference Center in Cagayan de Oro City.

More than 70 bishops are attending the three-day assembly, which is the first to be held in Mindanao.

Among other reasons, a shrine is regarded by many faithful as a “congenial center of devotion or pilgrimage”, according to CBCP.

As sites of popular piety and devotion to Mary and the saints, the CBCP also said that “shrines are to nourish the faith of the pilgrims with liturgical celebrations”.

In 1771, Maasin became a parish under Jesuit missionaries. In 1843, when the Franciscans took over, the parish was dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.

In 1968, when the parish church became a cathedral, the new diocese also took Our Lady of the Assumption as its patroness.

It was on Aug. 15, 2018 when the image received episcopal coronation in a rite led by then archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Nearly four years later, on Aug. 13, 2022, the shrine’s venerated image of Our Lady of the Assumption received episcopal coronation in a rite led by papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown.

This will be the first national shrine in the Eastern Visayas region.

The Novaliches shrine, on the other hand, has a rich history that dates back to its founding in 19th century.

Established by Augustinian missionaries from Spain, it is the oldest church in the diocese. Originally started as a chapel of Corpus Christi, it was elevated to Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced in 1856.

In 2008, the church was declared a diocesan shrine, and in 2021, it was granted a special bond of spiritual affinity with the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. In the same year, the church’s image of Our Lady of Mercy was granted canonical coronation.

The church is also the first national shrine in the 19-year-old diocese.