With the recent designation of Saint Clement Parish Church as a diocesan shrine, the local government of this Art Capital of the Country is bent on strengthening faith tourism in the municipality.
Mayor Jeri Mae Calderon, in her speech during the ceremony marking the elevation of the parish church into a diocesan shrine, said the designation of the parish church as a diocesan shrine would contribute in the municipal government’s plan to enliven faith tourism in the town.
The now diocesan shrine is dedicated to Saint Clement, the fourth Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, who was martyred in the Black Sea sometime between 99 and 101 A.D. for his Christian belief.
During the elevation ceremony on May 21, Antipolo Bishop Francis Mendoza De Leon officiated the event to formally announce the new title of the parish church as the Diocesan Shrine of Saint Clement.
Fr. Peter Julian Eymard Balatbat, the parish priest, serves as the first rector of the shrine.
A newly created statue of the saint, who can be recognized as the bearded man with a papal vestment and with a huge anchor known as the Mariner’s Cross on his side, was also unveiled on May 22, near the shore of Laguna Lake, the spot where parishioners converge every November 23, the saint’s feast day, for the fluvial parade.
The municipal government and the church are hoping that the diocesan shrine would strengthen further the parishioners’ faith in God through their devotion to Saint Clement and encourage more tourists to visit the shrine.