We were all supposed to visit another historical and one of the oldest churches in Bataan which is the Samal Church dedicated to Saint Catherine of Siena. However, the road from Orani to Samal was currently under construction and is not passable for the 16 huge buses that are part of our pilgrimage tour. So in order to conclude our Visita Iglesia (we still got 2 more Station of the Cross to recite), our organizers looked for another church nearby and so we came across a church in Pampanga (a neighbor province of Bataan). Our last destination was the Arcdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Bacolor which is popularly known as the Sunken Shrine.
Unlike the rest of the churches in Bataan and Pampanga such as the Betis Church or the San Guillermo Parish in Bacolor, The Arcdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady Of Lourdes is not as old and not as historical yet the church plays a huge part in the province especially for the heart of Kapampangan who were affected by the Mount Pinatubo eruption on June 1991. The devastating lahar flows buried the church. A new shrine was built on top of the burried one with a very unique architecture
It was already dark outside so I wasn’t able to get a picture of the shrine’s exterior but the design was patterned after a stealth B2 Aircraft. Interestingly, the entrance to the shrine is only about five feet high so the visitors should literally crouch to enter. Once you get inside, you will be prompted to a very simple yet spacious interior. Unlike other shrine, the Sunken Shrine of Bacolor is not really adorned with any flamboyant decorations. You can barely spot one actually. Maybe during the feast day which is one the 11th day of February.
Visitors can also access the back of the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto.
Totus Tuus Maria (I’m Totally Yours Mary) words were embossed on the walls of the Shrine.
Adjacent to the Sunken Shrine is the original Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. Outside you’ll see a line of differennt Marian images
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Inside the church was a Grotto-like altar for the Our lady of Lourdes (the image was temporarily covered in observance with the Holy Week).
At the center of the retablo is this huge and stunning tabernacle.
The ceiling is also adorn with immensely beautiful paintings depicting images from the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. These masterpiece reminds me of those intricate paintings in Binondo Church (Check : Binondo Church).
The nave and altar
The dome with the image of Resurrected Christ
On the right side of the altar is said to be a miraculous healing fountain and well. Visitors and devotees can fetch water from this fountain.
It was truly a remarkable spiritual journey for all of us. We may able to visit all the seven Pilgrim churches in Bataan but we believed that we were brought here for a great reason. We all went home in Cavite spiritually enlightened. In case you missed my Bataan Pilgrimage Tour series, feel free to visit the links below:
► San Miguel Arcangel Parish / Orion Church – Orion, Bataan
► Our Lady of the Pillar Church / Pilar Church – Pilar, Bataan
► Diocesan Shrine and Cathedral of Saint Joseph / Balanga Cathedral – Balanga, Bataan
► Santo Domingo De Guzman Church / Abucay Church – Abucay Bataan
► Saint Peter of Verona Parish – Hermosa, Bataan
► Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish / Orani Church – Orani, Bataan
► Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes – Bacolor, Pampanga