MANILA, Oct. 4, 2016— A Catholic parish church dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux was elevated to the rank of diocesan shrine over the weekend.
The church is now known as the Diocesan Shrine of the St. Therese of the Child Jesus, located inside the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus in Laguna province.
The canonical declaration was held during a Mass presided over by Msgr. Jerry Bitoon, Vicar General of the San Pablo diocese, on the feast day of St. Therese, Oct. 1.
The new shrine had been under the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) for 33 years until 2000 when diocesan priests took over its administration.
One of the three parishes in Los Baños, the church is under Fr. Luis Tolentino as parish priest. He is also first rector of the shrine.
The devotion to St. Therese started in the mid-1920s shortly after the Church canonized her. The students and professors of the then UPLB College of Agriculture and Forestry petitioned the Archdiocese of Lipa to establish a chapel outside the university’s perimeter fence.
A chapel was then built in honor of St. Therese in 1927 with a seating capacity of 120 people. Since then, it became the unofficial university chapel.
The present church with a maximum seating capacity of 1,000 was built in 1971.
A thanksgiving Mass by San Pablo Bishop Buenaventura Famadico will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8. (CBCPNews)