The Parish of San Pascual Baylon-Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepcion de Salambao in Obando, Bulacan has been elevated to the rank of a national shrine.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) declared the elevation of Obando Church into a national shrine on Wednesday during their plenary assembly.
Obando Church announced the news on its Facebook page on the same day.
It will be the fourth national shrine in the Diocese of Malolos, joining the National Shrine and Parish of the Divine Mercy (Marilao), National Shrine and Parish of St. Anne (Hagonoy), and National Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Fatima (Valenzuela).
Before a parish church is declared a national shrine, it has to be already a Diocesan Shrine or Archdiocesan Shrine, the pronouncement of which is reserved to the Bishop of the diocese . An article posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Manila explained the process.
The Parish Church must also be above other churches when it comes to worship, Christian formation and Social Services. When all these demands are met, the priests, together with the Parish Council, parishioners, and frequent church-goers should petition the Bishop to canonically elevate the church into a Diocesan Shrine.
When devotion has grown and it is possible, the faithful involved in the Shrine may apply for its elevation to National level to the CBCP, which in turn, will conduct an intense inquiry.
The three Commissions of the CBCP that usually conduct the investigation are the Commission on Canon Law, where the application pass through a legal consultation; the Commission on Liturgy, which scrutinizes the frequency of the shrine in rendering liturgical services; and the Commission on Doctrine to ensure the conformity of the shrine’s devotional practices to the teachings of the Universal Church.
No date has been set yet for the rite to formally declare the parish as a national shrine.