The Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish – Recoletos in the heart of Cebu City was formally declared an archdiocesan shrine on April 29.
The elevation to its new status was held during Mass presided over by Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu.
In his homily, he noted that “for all of us who have experiences of both joys and difficulties, we know that we have Mama Mary.”
“Carmel is Mama Mary and her assurance of protection,” Archbishop Palma said.
In a decree dated March 7, 2022, the archbishop wrote that the shrine will now be called “Santuario Arquidiocesano de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia” (Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Clean One).
During the celebration, Palma approached the venerated image to place his gift, an ex-voto medallion with the image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Among those in attendance were Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Antono Rañola, a delegate of the Recollect General Curia in Rome, Recollect Philippine Prior Provincial Dionisio Selma, and priests of the Recollect Order and the Cebu archdiocese.
Cebu Archdiocesan Chancellor Msgr. Renato Beltran, Jr., also announced during the event that the shrine received a “special year of grace” wherein a plenary indulgence is granted to pilgrims who come to the shrine from April 29, 2022 to April 29, 2023.
Another highlight of the celebration was the procession of the Mount Carmel image at the newly-inaugurated Cebu – Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), now the longest bridge in the country.
The parish, currently found within the main campus University of San José – Recoletos under the Order of Augustinian Recollects – Province of San Ezekiel Moreno, was dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount Carmel since their arrival on the island in 1621.
Formerly known as Ermita de La Limpia Concepción (Hermitage of the Clean Conception) under the Augustinians, the stewardship of its church and community were entrusted to the Recollects and marked the 400 years of Recollect presence in the province (1621-2021).
Last Jan. 8, the image of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, La Limpia was also granted an episcopal coronation by Archbishop Palma.
Also, last April 24, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Charles John Brown visited during the closing rites of the 500 years of Christianity celebration in Cebu and offered an ex-voto on behalf of Pope Francis.
Cebu Archdiocese has the largest number of local shrines in any diocese in the country.
It has one minor basilica (Sto. Niño, Cebu City), two national shrines (Virgen de la Regla, Lapu-Lapu City and St. Joseph, Mandaue City).
Cebu also has 22 other archdiocesan shrines: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, San Nicolas de Tolentino, San Roque, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Arnold Janssen, and San Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City; Our Lady of Fatima in Mandaue City; Jesús Nazareno, Our Lady of Schoenstatt, and St. Teresa of Avila in Talisay City; Theotokos and St. Catherine of Alexandria in Carcar City; St. Vincent Ferrer in Bogo City; St. Francis of Assisi in Naga City; St. John of Sahagun in Toledo City; Immaculate Heart of Mary in Minglanilla; St. Michael the Archangel in Argao; St. Anne in Barili; St. Anthony of Padua in Tuburan; and Santiago Mayor, Compostela.