Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. is congratulating the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan after Pope Francis elevated the status of Manaoag Shrine into a ‘Minor Basilica.’
The shrine’s upgraded status was announced by the Vatican two months before the Pope’s scheduled visit to the country on January 2015.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas who also heads the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines, said that the archdiocese is ‘immensely blessed after the Pope has granted the title as Minor Basilica’ on the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag which had gained worldwide prominence because of miraculous cases on problems and illnesses experienced by devotees.
The shrine, considered as one of the most frequented pilgrimages in the country and one of Pangasinan’s prime destinations, now joins other Basilicas such as the Manila Cathedral; San Martin de Tours in Taal Batangas; San Sebastian Church and Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene both in Quiapo, Manila; in Quiapo, Basilica del Sto Nino in Cebu City and the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in Agoo, La Union.
With the new stature of Manaoag Shrine, Gov. Espino has expressed optimism that Pangasinan will further become as one of the destinations of choice both by local and foreign tourists.
Basilicas are significant churches in Rome. They are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and significance as places of worship.
The Manaoag Shrine is the first and only church in the country to be given the title of ‘affiliate’ of one of the four papal basilicas.
It has also been honoured by Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome with a special bond of spiritual affinity in perpetuity. /RRB