Peñafrancia Basilica

February 17, 2011

Peñafrancia Basilica

The Peñafrancia Basilica Minore houses an image of the virgin Mary that was carved in 1710. It was accredited by Miguel de Cobarrubias who proceeded to the Philippines from Spain with his family & believed that the virgin Mary had helped him numerous times in his life. The image was housed in a small chapel until the Basilica Minore was established. The Image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia is enshrined in her sanctuary at the Basilica Minore, Balatas Road Naga City. Archbishop Pedro P. Santos noted that the devotees and pilgrims kept increasing through the years. In 1960 he dreamt building a basilica to give honor to Our Lady. Soon after, through the meditation of the Archbishop Emeritus Teopisto V. Alberto, DD and the Association of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Mr and Mrs. Macario Mariano donated a three hectare lot at barrio Balatas. Bishop Concordio Sarte initiated the ground work of the construction. Blessing and laying of the base was held on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1976 having Church dignitaries led by Cardinal Jaime Sin and prominent Bicolano sponsors.

Immediately thereafter, there was a hiatus in the construction. Yet the affiliation kept soliciting contributions & donations. Bishop Sarte was transferred to Sorsogon and Fr. Sofio Balce (later appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Caceres) took over as Parish Priest & Rector of Our Lady of Peñafrancia Parish and Shrine. He reorganized the different committees & launched “Operation Peñafrancia Basilica”. From then on construction continued on an almost fevered pitch until it was finally completed in September 1981. On May 22, 1982 Cardinal Sin officiated the solemn inauguration and dedication, having Cardinal Julio Rosales in attendance. On January 18, 1984, His Grace, Most Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.,D.D., was installed third Archbishop of Caceres. He sent petition to Romeo to the effect that the title “Basilica” be granted to the newly built church. On May 22, 1985, he got the Decree from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship conceding the title of “Basilica Minore” to the “Church of Nuestra Señora de Peña de Francia.” With this concession comes another Basilica Minore in the Philippines giving plenary indulgences under the usual conditions. Barely ten years after its completion, the physical structure of the Basilica Minore had deteriorated earlier than expected due to some construction defects and the ravages of natural elements. November 3, 1994, the repair works & repainting of the Basilica Minore’s exterior walls were resumed. The broken window glasses, the partly corroded steel window frames were replaced & strengthened.

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