Parish Church in Bulacan formally declared a minor basilica

Published December 2, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Christina Hermoso

The La Purísima Concepción Parish in Sta. Maria Bulacan has formally been declared a minor basilica in solemn rites held recently.

La Purisima Concepcion (Facebook)

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown led the ceremonies together with Manila Archdiocese Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula, Malolos Bishop Dennis Villarojo, other Church leaders and members of the clergy and the religious, said a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines News post.

The decree of the basilica was read during the mass. The official symbols of the basilica – the tintinnabulum (basilica bell) and the umbraculum (Papal umbrella) were brought in a procession.

In his homily, Archbishop Brown cited the minor basilica as “a beautiful church with a wonderful and beautiful celebration reflective of the words written in the dome of the church – Tota Pulchra es – ‘You are wholly beautiful.’”

The Papal Nuncio said, the basilica symbols such as the umbraculum, which symbolizes the “closeness and protection of the Pope to the church” also symbolizes the “closeness and protection of the Virgin Mary. The theme for the celebration, he said, “Sub Tuum Præsidium” (We fly to your Protection), which refers to the third century Marian prayer, is a sign of being “under the veil or the mantle of the Virgin Mary that shows us the protection of Mary.”

Minor Basilica Rector Msgr. Alberto Suatengco in his thanksgiving address said, “the occasion is another miracle of the Virgin after 230 years since Santa Maria was founded.”

Bishop Villarojo announced that Pope Francis has approved a petition to elevate the parish church to the rank of a minor basilica on March 21.

Founded by the Franciscans in 1792, the Sta. Maria church is the second minor basilica in the Malolos diocese after the historic Malolos Cathedral, which became a basilica in 1999 in light of the centennial celebration of the Philippine Republic.

It is also the 18th of 19 minor basilicas in the country, the CBCP said.

The image of the La Purisima Comcepcion de Santa Maria was canonically crowned early this year, bringing the number of canonically crowned Marian images in the country to 42.

A canonical coronation is a pious institutional act wherein the Pope, through a bull, designates a crown or stellar halo be added to a Marian image under a specific devotional title in a particular diocese.

La Purisima Concepcion is now the second canonically crowned Marian image in the Malolos diocese after the La Virgen Inmaculada Concepcion de Malolos in 2012, which is currently enshrined at the Malolos Cathedral.