The St. Clement Parish Church in the town of Angono in Rizal province has been declared a diocesan shrine by Bishop Francisco de Leon of Antipolo.
The declaration was announced during a Mass on Sept. 8, the Feast of Mary’s birth, by Fr. Peter Julian Eymard Balatbat, the parish priest.
He said the decree was approved by the bishop but it was only announced last week “to give thanks to the Virgin Mary and to our beloved patron, St. Clement, who has been a guide and inspiration to the people of Angono and to the Catholics in Rizal and for pilgrims in different places across the country.”
Angono is considered the “art capital of the Philippines.” Formerly known as “Hacienda de Angono,” the Spanish agrarian property became a town in the late Spanish era and was dedicated to St. Clement, thus far being the only parish dedicated to the saint in the country.
The town’s fiesta and fluvial procession is one of the most visited religious and cultural events in the country, with colorful decorations and with artisans and musicians aiding in the thanksgiving celebration.
The pagoda is held at the town’s Laguna lake side to give thanks to the patron for the bounty of fish and for the blessing of talents among its parishioners.
This is the 10th diocesan shrine of the Antipolo diocese following Our Lady of Aranzazu (San Mateo, Rizal), Our Lady of the Abandoned and St. Paul of the Cross (Marikina City), Our Lady of Light and St. Arnold Janssen (Cainta, Rizal), St. Therese of the Child Jesus (Antipolo City), St. Mary Magdalene (Pililla, Rizal), Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (Cardona, Rizal) and St. Joseph (Baras, Rizal).
It is also home to the first national shrine in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City.