The 17th century parish church of Baras in the Diocese of Antipolo has been declared a diocesan shrine this week at the end of the Year of St. Joseph.
Bishop Francisco De Leon of Antipolo led the elevation rites of the church with the clergy, parishioners, devotees and pilgrims from six other churches dedicated to St Joseph.
In his homily, Father Randy Marquez of the Oblates of St. Joseph noted three reasons why the Baras church was elevated to a diocesan shrine status.
“First, we all love St. Joseph. Second, we love promoting St. Joseph. And third, we hope to imitate St. Joseph in his virtues and deeds,” said the priest.
In his thanksgiving message, Father Rodney Cruz, the shrine’s rector, stressed two events that made the church a historic place for the devotion to St. Joseph.
“We are in the oldest parish dedicated to St. Joseph in the Southern Tagalog region, existing for 335 years,” he said.
The parish is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Baras’ independence from Tanay.
The church in Baras is the fifth to be declared a diocesan shrine for the Year of St. Joseph in the Philippines.
The others are the Diocesan Shrine of San José de Navatos in the Diocese of Kalookan; the Cathedral and Shrine-Parish of St. Joseph the Worker in Tagbilaran, Bohol; the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph in Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental; and the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker in Baggao, Cagayan.
The Diocesan Shrine of St. Joseph in Las Piñas City, which is well-known for its Bamboo Organ, was also raised to such status on November 5 last year before Pope Francis’ declaration of the Year of St. Joseph.