The Parish of San Isidro Labrador in Pulilan, Bulacan has been recognized as a diocesan shrine.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Diocese of Malolos said Bishop Dennis Villarojo has approved the recognition of the parish, making it the seventh diocesan pilgrimage center in the province.
It announced that Villarojo will celebrate the Eucharist at the shrine on Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. for the recognition ceremony together with the blessing of the newly-renovated parish museum.
The parish has undergone major restoration since 2018 with the addition of paintings on the church ceiling with the help of the pastoral council under its 50th parish priest, Rev. Fr. Mario Jose Ladra which was blessed by Villarojo last Nov. 3, 2019.
The other diocesan pilgrimage center to be declared in the local Church of Malolos are: the shrines of Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (San Rafael, Bulacan); Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and Grace (Santa Maria, Bulacan), Nuestra Señora de la Inmaculada Concepción de Salambao (Obando, Bulacan), Mahal na Poong Krus sa Wawa (Bocaue, Bulacan), St. John the Baptist (Calumpit, Bulacan) and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Bulakan, Bulacan).
The parish church of Pulilan, founded by the Augustinian friars in 1794 after it was declared as an independent parish from Quingua (Plaridel, Bulacan).
It is recognized as the venue for the festive celebration of the Kneeling Carabao Festival, a tradition based on the Spanish friars teaching the farmers the Catholic faith and on giving due veneration sometime in the 19th century.
During the 14th and 15th day of May annually, carabaos would be led to the church of Pulilan to kneel reverently with their owners to pay homage to San Isidro, who was also a fellow-farmer and to thank God for the bountiful harvest.
Pulilan is among the agricultural centers of Bulacan province, which is part of Central Luzon, the rice basket of the Philippines.
The elevation of a parish into a diocesan shrine or archdiocesan shrine is reserved for the bishop of the diocese.
For a parish church to be elevated, it must be above other churches when it comes to worship, Christian formation, and social services.
When all these conditions are met, the priests together with the parish council, parishioners, and frequent church-goers should petition the bishop to canonically elevate the church into a diocesan shrine.
Source: Philippines News agency