A Catholic bishop in the Philippines invited the faithful to visit “places of healing” as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the country.
Bishop Honesto Ongtioco Cubao said people whose patience may have already been “worn out” by the situation must seek a place to rest.
The prelate invited those who are “inclined to complain in desperation” to visit the church, which is “a place of rest and healing for the troubled souls.”
Bishop Ongtioco made the call during the celebration of the Solemn Declaration of the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista as a Minor Basilica on September 14.
“May all who visit this church find peace in the Cross of Christ and the love that heals,” he said.
He challenged the newly designated minor basilica “to seek new ways of service” and “to be steadfast in evangelization.”
Bishop Ongtiono said the new minor basilica must possess the “mark of motherhood, the charity that is the heart of all missionary efforts in the Church.”
Pope Francis declared the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista in the Philippine capital’s Quezon City as a minor basilica on June 13.
The church, which is run by the Order of Friars Minor, is one of the oldest in the country, dating back to 1590.
It is the second in the diocese to be made a minor basilica after the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Minor basilicas are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and significance as centers of worship.
Bishop Ongtioco reminded the faithful that being a basilica “is not only an honor and a privilege” but “it carries with it the obligation to serve.”
“The elevation of this church as a minor basilica is a testament that long after the early Franciscan missionaries have gone, this community continues its missionary work of evangelization,” he said.
He said the designation as a papal church is “not only about its historical and patrimonial importance” but “it is a recognition of its special role in the mission of evangelization.”
The prelate cited the role of the Franciscans, through the Sanctuario de San Pedro Bautista, in the formation of what is now the Diocese of Cubao.
“This clearly shows the missionary identity of the church, if a parish does not exude that spiritual dynamic of evangelization, it prompts the risk of becoming self-referential and fossilized,” he said.