The National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help, also called the Redemptorist Church or most commonly the Baclaran Church, is considered as the most visited church in Asia. It is located in Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque City in the Philippines.
Every Wednesday, the church’s novena day, approximately 10,000 people from inside and out of the metro attend mass to celebrate its tradition.
It houses the shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.
On 1906, Redemptorists arrived in the country to introduce the Mother of Perpetual Help. The Redemptorists are one of the many Catholic congregations. The first Perpetual Novena was done in Iloilo in the Redemptorist Church in St. Clement in May 1946.
The congregation started to explore the country. Father Gerard O’Donnel became the first Rector in Baclaran on 23 June 1948. Father Leo English conducted the first novena in the Baclaran Church. The church had a 300 person capacity yet only 70 people attended.
Before the end of 1949, Wednesday became the official day of prayer for the Virgin of Perpetual Help, therefore also making it the novena day for the week. Slowly Filipinos began to flock to the church making it hard to accommodate more people, but with the help of Filipino communities’ donations and thanksgiving letters the church was renovated to help more people.
At present, the church continues to accommodate thousands of devotees, though it is still uncertain why Filipino people choose to hear mass specifically at the Baclaran Church.
The Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran has symbolic significances to the Catholic faith. The shrine has many parts which are made with exquisite materials made for the people. The baldachin is the shrine's centrepiece. Its columns and capitals are made of giallo oro and Bottecino marbles. The gracefully curving altar rails under the baldachin are made of white Carrara marble. The shrine’s columns are made of Black Belgium marble, Moroccan onyx and Venetian mosaics.
The Baclaran Church has a total floor area of 54,564 square feet. It is 71 feet tall, 350 feet long and 118 feet wide. The church exhibits Modern Romanesque architecture. Architect Cesar Concio designed the church structure.
- Baclaran Church www.baclaranovena.org (Accessed 19 June 2010)
- Baclaran Church Paranaque heritageconservation.wordpress.com (Accessed 19 June 2010)
- Baclaran www.paranaquecity.com (Accessed 19 June 2010)
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