Southern Leyte cathedral elevated into a diocesan shrine

The Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Maasin City, Southern Leyte has been elevated into a diocesan shrine, a fifth for the Diocese of Maasin.

The Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption in Maasin City.

A Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post said the declaration was held during a holy mass officiated by Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas last August 14 to coincide with the diocese’s 52nd anniversary.

To be designated as a diocesan shrine, the church must be a place "to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage for a special reason of piety." It must exceed other churches in terms of worship, Christian formation, and social services.

In his homily, Bishop Cantillas said the elevation was the diocese’s concrete expression of gratitude for the gift of faith. More than 90 percent of the population of Maasin City are Roman Catholics.

“We should always be grateful to the Lord in good times and in bad. The COVID-19 pandemic should not stop us from thanking God,” the prelate stressed.

The ceremony took place on the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was observed last August 15.

The Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral was canonically established as a parish in 1771, under the supervision of the Jesuit missionaries. The placing of the church under the patronage of Our Lady of the Assumption was attributed to the Franciscans who took over in 1843.

In 1968, upon the elevation of the parish into a cathedral, the newly erected diocese also took Our Lady of the Assumption as its patroness.

“The strong Marian devotion has been a vital part of the faith life, history and culture of the diocese and the many pilgrims visiting the church. Her miraculous images are affectionately treasured by her devotees and pilgrims as signs of hopes and sources of inspiration,” said Cantillas.

The Diocese of Maasin’s other shrines are the St. Anthony De Padua Church in Pamponan, Baybay City; Agnus Dei Shrine in Hilongos, Southern Leyte; Divine Mercy Shrine in Matalom, Leyte; and the Monte Cueva Shrine in Maasin.