by Joel V. Ocampo
More than a month before the end of the Year 2022, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, His Eminence Cardinal Jose F. Advincula decreed the erection of two new archdiocesan shrines in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The first is the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish (NSPSP) in Sampaloc, elevated and received the title “Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro''. The decree was given on November 2, 2022, but it was made public only on November 27, 2022, through the Facebook post of the former parish priest, Rev. Fr. Jerome R. Secillano.
Photo from Fr. Jerome Secillano
In the said Facebook post, Father Secillano said, “God’s grace…was in abundance. Not only were we able to build an elegant and beautiful church in NSPS, it was also declared as an archdiocesan shrine upon our petition. A feat we achieved before I left what I considered ‘home’.”
The second is the San Vicente de Paul Parish, located at 959 San Marcelino St., Ermita, Manila. The said parish received the title “Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal,” and the decree was given on November 27, 2022, the day of the Memorial of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
Photo by Lorenzo Atienza Photography
During the Concelebrated Mass for the First Sunday of Advent and the Memorial of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal, the parish priest of San Vicente de Paul Parish, Rev. Fr. Joel Rescober, CM, announced the approval of the Archbishop of Manila, and the Presbyteral Council to declare the parish church as the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Father Rescober also said, “We give thanks to the Lord for this blessing. We will announce later the date of the solemn declaration as shrine of our parish.”
Shrines, According to Code of Canon Law
“The term shrine is understood as a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety, with the approval of the local ordinary” (Can. 1230). For a shrine to be called a diocesan or archdiocesan shrine the local ordinary (bishop/archbishop) must give its approval (Can. 1232 §1).
Can. 1233 also states “Certain privileges can be granted to shrines whenever local circumstances, the large number of pilgrims, and especially the good of the faithful seem to suggest it.” The Code of Canon Law continues, “At shrines the means of salvation are to be supplied more abundantly to the faithful by the diligent proclamation of the word of God, the suitable promotion of liturgical life especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and of penance, and the cultivation of approved forms of popular piety” (Can. 1234 §1).
A Place of Historical Significance
In addition to the above requirements, for a church to be declared as a shrine, whether diocesan, national, or international (e.g. Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage - Antipolo Church), it must be a place of historical significance.
The historical marker of San Vicente de Paul Parish, installed by the Historical Research and Markers Committee (PHRMC) states, “The chapel built here in 1883 was used as the parish church of Paco from 1898 to 1909. Parish of San Vicente De Paul erected in 1909. Present church was built of concrete in 1912 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the Vincentians and Sisters of Charity in the Philippines.” In addition to this historical significance of the physical church, the San Vicente de Paul Parish community, led by the Vincentians and Sisters of Charity, played a big role in the propagation to the Filipinos of the devotion to the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, who said in her apparition in 1830 to St. Catherine Labouré, “All who will wear the medal will receive great graces…Graces will abound for persons who wear it with confidence.”
As for the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish (NSPSP), it started as part of the Parish of Espiritu Santo. On August 28, 1951, the then Manila Archbishop Gabriel Reyes decreed the creation of NSPSP. Fr. Candido Bernal was the first parish priest and was installed by Msgr. Narciso Gatpaydan, Vicar Forane of Espiritu Santo. The present site was formerly of a 13-hectare lot called ‘Lumang Tinapay’, a swampy area where grass and kangkong thrived. The parish started with a small wooden chapel at an initial fund of ₱5,000 provided by Archbishop Gabriel Reyes. In 2006, Fr. Jerome Secillano became the parish priest. He saw the need to renovate the church as flood waters during the rainy season destroyed some parts of the structure. In a Mass for the Dedication of Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish on October 29, 2022, Fr. Jerome Secillano said, “This church is not my work. It is God’s work through the many different people He used to be involved in this project. The church is now finished. I can now go and start my new mission at the Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace more popularly known as EDSA Shrine.” True to her name, “Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro'' or “Our Lady of Perpetual Help,” the parish, now an archdiocesan shrine became a shelter for the faithful that seek help and protection from a loving mother.
Sub Tuum Praesidium
We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us always from all dangers,
O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us.
Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro, pray for us.