A parish church in Laguna province’s city of Biñan is now among the diocesan shrines in the country.
The Diocese of San Pablo celebrated the formal declaration of San Isidro Labrador Parish Church as a diocesan shrine on May 6.
The event was highlighted with a Mass presided by Bishop Buenaventura Famadico with Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila as homilist.
Also in attendance were Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, and the San Pablo clergy.
The cardinal noted in his homily that, “we are called by His Holiness, Pope Francis, to accompany more people towards the path of salvation and that they experience his great love”.
“The word sanctuary in Latin is ‘sanctuarium’, which means a place of holiness, that is why being a shrine is not only about the beautiful decorations or grand events, but most of all, this place is a concrete sign of the holiness of God,” Cardinal Advincula said.
During the Mass, a decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary was read indicating that “the Christian faithful would have devoutly received the papal blessing even if with reasonable circumstances would have not been physically present in the sacred rites at the same time that these rites would have been accomplished had these been attended to through the means of television or radio transmission according to the rule of law will be able to obtain the plenary indulgence”.
In his message to the faithful, the papal nuncio noted that “we celebrate the 400 years of canonization of this beloved saint San Isidro Labrador with the elevation of your church as a diocesan shrine”.
“As a saint, he is for us an example as the term ‘labrador’ tells us meaning ‘worker’. He shows us the dignity of work. Whatever is our work, let us do it with dignity and confidence and remember that God sanctifies it in and through our work,” Archbishop Brown said.
Founded in 1637 by the Augustinians, the Biñan shrine is celebrating its 385 years as a community of faith, coinciding with this year’s celebration of the 400 years of the Canonization of San Isidro Labrador which began last March 12.
Biñan’s centuries-old image of San Isidro made of dark wood is one of the oldest images of the saint in the country. The church itself, together with the belfry and meditation gardens, were declared local heritage sites by the city government on July 26, 2017.
Biñan church is the eighth diocesan shrine in the San Pablo diocese, which covers the entire Laguna province.
It is also the third shrine dedicated to the patron saint of farmers in the Philippines, following the shrines in Talavera, Nueva Ecija of the Diocese of Cabanatuan and Pulilan, Bulacan of the Diocese of Malolos.