by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
With the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ declaration, Quiapo Church became the 29th National Shrine in the Philippines.
photo from Quiapo Church Facebook page
On July 9, the CBCP during the 126th Plenary Council in Kalibo, Aklan declared the Parish and Shrine of St. John the Baptist in Manila or commonly known as Quiapo Church as the National Shrine of the Black Nazarene.
The announcement happened exactly 60 days after Cardinal Jose Advincula elevated Quiapo Church as an Archdiocesan Shrine last May 10.
Because of the national scope of the phenomenon of the devotion to the Nazareno, the CBCP Permanent Council lifted the 10-year requirement for a diocesan shrine to be a national shrine based on the “2018 Updated Policies and Procedures for National Shrine.” Millions of devotees would flock the area to pray to the Nazareno every Friday and especially on January 9, the commemoration of the Traslacion.
A place of worship may be elevated as a shrine after meeting the requirements of the national Episocpal Conference recognizing the church’s cultural, historical and impact on the faithful’s spiritual lives.
In 1987, St. John Paul II, who was the pope then, declared the Quiapo Church as a Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene "because of its role in strengthening a deep popular devotion to Jesus Christ and its cultural contribution to the religiosity of the Filipino people."
At present, the parish and shrine is under the care of Rev. Fr. Rufino “Jun” Sescon as the parish priest and rector. While the Parochial Vicars are Rev. Fr. Robert Arellano, LRMS, Rev. Fr. Jonathan Noel Mojica and Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang.