Laoag bishop assigns new shrine to charity

Laoag bishop assigns new shrine to charity

Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag presides over a Mass to declare the San Nicolas de Tolentino Church in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte as a diocesan shrine on September 10.

By CBCP News

September 10, 2020

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte

Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag has asked the diocese’s new shrine to serve not only as a place of devotion to God but also “devotion to people”.

Speaking during Mass to declare the centuries-old San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church as a diocesan shrine on Thursday, he said that charity is central to its mission.

“A shrine is not only a place where people pray to God but a shrine is a church that is always ready to give and to share,” Bishop Mayugba said in his homily.

“If there is no ‘caritas’ program, it is a failure. A shrine can only be a shrine if it has an outreach program,” according to him.

The prelate said the shrine in Ilocos Norte’s San Nicolas town must be the “oasis” of mercy and service to the people, particularly the poor.

“May the parish continue that charitable dimension of devotion that completes the double commandment: love of God and love of neighbor,” he said.

The official declaration came nearly two months after the bishop approved a petition to elevate the parish to a diocesan shrine status.

It is the diocese’s second shrine after the La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc Church, which is now a minor basilica.

The ceremony also took place during the feast of the town’s patron saint.

The church was first constructed in 1584, the same year the town, formerly known as Caluntian, was founded by the Spanish Augustinian friars.

In 1617, it became independent and the friars placed the town under the patronage of San Nicolas, the first Augustinian saint.

Its current edifice was built in 1811 and completed in 1830.

While churches are all places of worship, Bishop Mayugba said that a shrine “is a place where the liturgy is particularly celebrated with greater devotion”.

“A shrine that does not celebrate a beautiful liturgy betrays its calling,” he said.

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