Sixteen shrines were represented in very first Bicol shrines assembly held at the Archbishop Legaspi Hall at the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia on January 13.
Present were 169 participants coming from the sixteen shrines in Bicol. There are 23 shrines in the Ecclesiastical Province of Caceres, which is composed of the dioceses in the region.
Hosted by the Archdiocese of Caceres through the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, in the pilgrim city of Naga, the gathering was initiated by the Association of Catholic Shrines and Pilgrimages of the Philippines (ACSP)under the CBCP – Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.
ACSP is the organization of minor basilicas, shrines and pilgrimage sites in the Philippines. It was founded in 1991 for the 1st World Congress of Shrines in Rome, 1992 by Bishop Gabriel Reyes, DD then Chairman of the Episcopal Commission of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).
Themed “From Devotion to New Evangelization: An Updating of Shrines in the New Evangelization of the Church,” the event aimed at gathering shrine rectors and lay ministries in the Bicol. ACSP has been visiting across the country in local assemblies held per Diocese or per Region for the same purpose.
According to the organizers, the assembly “discussed updating of shrines on their role as part of the New Evangelization in the Church today, the creation of the lay shrine ministry for pilgrims in collaboration with the Shrine Rector, and the spirit of inclusivity in shrines in engaging pilgrims to become promoters.”
Bro. Kendrick Ivan B. Panganiban, ACSP Lay Secretary and Research Chairman was the resource speaker. He is the author of the book “The Role of Shrines in view of the New Evangelization: Pope Francis Theology on Shrines and Pilgrimages applied in the Philippine Context.”
Panganiban discussed the orientation on the association of Catholic shrines and pilgrimages of the Philippines and from devotion to new evangelization: an updating of shrines through the seven aspects of a shrine in the new evangelization.
Msgr. Noe Badiola, Peñafrancia Basilica rector said that “It is an honor to host this first Bicol assembly of shrines. This is important so that we can best serve our pilgrims, our people and dioceses.”
Shrine ministry delegates from the Archdiocese of Caceres represented the Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia (Balatas, Naga); Archdiocesan Shrine & Parish of Our Lady of Fatima (Iriga City), Archdiocesan Shrine & Parish of St. Jude Thaddeus (Naga City), Archdiocesan Shrine & Parish of St. Joseph and Archdiocesan Shrine (San Jose, Camarines Sur); and Parish of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Tambo, Buhi).
From the Diocese of Daet, delegates come from the St. Anthony of Padua Parish and Shrine (Mercedes, Camarines Norte); Diocesan Shrine of Jesus the Black Nazarene) & Parish of St. Lucy (Capalonga, Camarines Norte) and Santuario y Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Candelaria.
The Diocese of Legazpi was represented by Our Lady of Salvation Parish and Diocesan Shrine (Joroan, Tiwi, Albay); St. Vincent Ferrer Parish and Diocesan Shrine (Tabaco, Albay) and St. Padre Pio Shrine Parish (Rawis, Legazpi City).
The Diocese of Libmanan was represented by the Parish & Shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar (San Isidro, Libmanan).
From the Diocese of Sorsogon, the delegates were from the Parish - Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima (Sorsogon City), Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Binisitahan Sur, Magallanes, Sorsogon) and St. Francis of Assisi Shrine – Parish (Donsol, Sorsogon).
Meanwhile, the participants of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish-Diocesan Shrine of the Holy Cross (Batalay, Bato, Catanduanes) represented the Diocese of Virac.
A Eucharistic Celebration was presided over by Most Rev. Rolando Octavus J. Tria Tirona, OCD, DD, at the Basilica Church with the rectors from the participating shrines as concelebrants.
In his homily, Tirona said that shrines should create an environment where the pilgrims’ soul will be reverential, committed and joyful. Giving emphasis, he said that “shrines are not museums. Shrines are meant to be powerhouses where those who enter will go out stronger because they experienced God.”
Participants were given Certificates of Membership to the ACSP.
-Myrna S. Bermudo & Kirstie Kaye S. Tino