►The Vatican has approved a request from the Laoag Diocese to elevate the St. John the Baptist Parish Church — also known as “the Shrine of La Virgen de Milagrosa de Badoc, in Ilocos Norte” — to minor basilica status, a privilege granted by the Pope.
“The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments … very willingly bestows upon the parish church … the title and dignity of a Minor Basilica,” read the decree.
Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag confirmed in a circular in his diocese news of their church’s elevation.
According to canon law, no church building can be honored with the title of basilica unless by apostolic grant. Today, only the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is authorized to grant the decree.
►The 40-day preparation for the elevation of the Shrine of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc to a Minor Basilica in February has begun.
Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba said it was important for the faithful “to be spiritually prepared for the big celebration.”
►The Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the request of the Diocese of Laoag to elevate the nearly 400-year-old Marian shrine to a Minor Basilica on November 30, 2018.
“We shall be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the presence of Our Lady of Badoc, the Japanese Madonna, in 2020. It was found floating on the sea in Barangay Dadalaquiten between Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Barangay Paguetpet in Badoc Ilocos Norte in 1620 with a large crucifix,” Bishop Mayugba said.
It is a symbol of the continuing mission of the Catholic Church to spread the Good News of the Lord and defend the faith especially in finding the image in conjunction with the persecution of Christians in Japan.
“With the elevation of the church in Badoc into a Minor Basilica and since the connection of Japan is very clear I feel a desire to share the faith back to Japan,” Bishop Mayugba said.
◘ San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila (c1600-1637) was a sacristan (altar-server) at the Dominican Church in Binondo, Manila (now renamed Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz in Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish; this church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve Chinese converts to Christianity). Joining Dominican missionaries on a mission to Japan, Ruiz was tortured and killed in Nagasaki, Japan on September 28, 1637 with other missionaries — after he refused to abjure his Catholic faith. According to the record of his death, his last words were, “I am a Catholic and wholeheartedly do accept death for God. Had I a thousand lives, all these to Him I shall offer. Do with me as you please.”
◘ Likewise, Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama (1552-1615), the celebrated Japanese Christian samurai who was considered a pillar of the Catholic faith in Japan, was deported to Manila – along with 350 other Christians after refusing to abjure their Catholic faith. Ukon settled in Intramuros, Manila – but died on February 3, 1615 — only 44 days after arriving in the country.
Two Side Altars – to be dedicated to San Lorenzo (1637) and Blessed Takayama (1615)
Two side altars — in the Minor Basilica — will be simultaneously blessed with both San Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Justo Ukon Takayama recognized as the two enduring bridges that bind the Christians of the Philippines and Japan.
On December 27, 2018, the Laoag Diocese launched a 40-day preparatory celebration in St. John the Baptist Parish as the Minor Basilica.
Bishop Mayugba said that spiritual preparation explains to devotees the meaning of the Minor Basilica — and its contrast to ordinary Churches.
“That is the catechetical, spiritual and pastoral preparation,” Bishop Mayugba said.
The Laoag Bishop invites devotees to participate in the celebration which will be held on February 5, 2019.
The official start of the day’s celebrations will be at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 – with the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, reading the Decree of Concession of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments raising the St. John the Baptist Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte to a Minor Basilica — after nearly four centuries dedicated to “La Milagrosa Virgen de Badoc.”
The Eucharistic Mass will be presided by Cotabato Archbishop Emeritus Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo and Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle — with Cardinal Tagle delivering the homily.
The installation of the side altar for Blessed Takayama will be made by Osaka Archbishop Thomas Aquinas Manyo Cardinal Maeda. The installation of San Lorenzo Ruiz will be by Cardinal Quevedo, assisted by Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).◘
Dr. Ernesto A. de Pedro