Pope Francis declared the 250-year-old St. Dominic Parish Church in the northern Luzon city of San Carlos in Pangasinan, and the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne in Taguig City as minor basilicas.
Basilicas are assigned by the pope to certain Catholic churches because of their antiquity, historical significance as centers of worship, architectural beauty, liturgical renown, the presence of a special relic or work of art or for any combination of those qualities.
The official title of the Pangasinan church will be changed to the Minor Basilica of St. Dominic at a liturgical rite to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
The first Dominican church in Pangasinan province was a simple chapel of bamboo and nipa built in 1587 in Binalatongan, now the city , Pangasinanof San Carlos.
The original site was moved to higher locations three times in the 17th and 18th centuries due to seasonal flooding.
In the 18th century, most churches were built of bricks and the largest bricks produced then were from San Carlos.
After the Palaris Revolt in 1765, a new church in its current site was built and completed in 1773. The church is now 250 years old.
“The parish has offered 34 sons to the Church to become priests in recent history,” the archdiocese said.
Santo Domingo Ybanez de Erquicia, who received the crown of martyrdom in Japan’s Nagasaki, and San Francisco Gil de Federich, who died for the faith in Vietnam’s northern region of Tonkin, were both Dominican missionaries who ministered in the Parish of Saint Dominic.
First minor basilica in Pasig diocese
Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara of Pasig said the designation of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne in Taguig City means that the 19-year-old diocese will now have its first minor basilica—a church to which special privileges are attached.
“This is a great blessing to us. This is the first basilica of the Diocese of Pasig,” Vergara said during Mass on the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim on July 26.
The parish last year petitioned the Vatican to grant the old church with the title and dignity of minor basilica.
The petition contained a 180-page document about the parish’s history, liturgical services, social services, culture and devotion.
During the Mass, Vergara announced that the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the petition, earning cheers and applause from the congregation.
“As always, let me assure you of my sincere and heartfelt support and prayers,” he said.
The archdiocesan shrine already houses a bone relic of Saint Anne.
A basilica also has special privileges with ties to the pope and one of them is the plenary indulgence, which the faithful who visit the house of worship and participate in sacred rites may receive.
The three church symbols that distinguish a basilica are the umbraculum (little umbrella), the tintinnabulum (bells) and the symbol of tiara and keys that is on the Vatican flag.
In preparation for the official proclamation of the church as minor basilica, the bishop asked the parish to “catechize the whole community” on the significance of the title.
He also encouraged the involvement of everyone in the preparation and exercise synodality among organizations, ministries, and even the local government.
“No one should be left behind,” Vergara said. Roy Lagarde/CBCP News
Image credits: St. Dominic Parish 1587 Facebook Page, Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne Facebook Page