By CBCP News
March 25, 2022
A Catholic church that dates back to 1754 in Bulacan province is the Philippines’ newest national shrine, becoming one of only 27 parish churches in the country with such title.
Devotees gathered for Mass on Friday to witness the formal declaration of the San Pascual Baylon Parish in Obando town to the dignity of a national shrine.
Known for its annual fertility festival rites, the parish church houses the revered image of Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción de Salambao.
For centuries, thousands of devotees from all over the county and from different parts of the world have flocked to the shrine to seek the intercession of Our Lady.
“And so the bishops of the Philippines have collectively recognized the depth and strength of your faith in God, as well as the rich history of your intense devotion to Our Lady and the saints,” said Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila in his homily.
It was last January during their plenary assembly when the bishops approved a petition to declare the church as a national shrine.
Among those who attended the celebration were five other bishops including Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara, vice president of the episcopal conference, and Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo of Malolos.
The cardinal further exhorted the devotees to imitate Mary “in reflecting God’s enduring presence”.
“And let us accompany our brothers and sisters in their pain and poverty through our acts of charity and solidarity,” Advincula said.
The Obando Church is also the fourth national shrine in the Malolos diocese.