The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or also known as the Redemptionist Church or colloquially known as the Baclaran Church is one of the largest Marian Churches here in the Philippines. This church is really special to me as it plays a huge role on who I am today (you can check my story here). The church recently underwent a redevelopment which includes the addition of a Bell tower. (the church’s first bell tower after sixty years).If you have been visiting the church for quite a long time, you can clearly see a huge difference on its exterior structure! The church’s redevelopment plan is starting to take shape indeed.Here’s the landscaped sidewalk which is also covered to shelter the visitors from sunlight or rain. The surfaces are also paved, making them more walkable or bikable. Not to mention the wonderful greeneries outside that make the landscape a lot more nature friendly.The church’s facade. The church architecture was described as modern Romanesque. Interestingly, Cecar Consio and Jesse Bontoc (the men behind the church’s architecture) planned to build a higher bell tower but due to its proximity to the airport, the original plan didn’t pushed thru. The Redemptorists brought the picture of the Mother of Perpetual Help to the Philippines in 1906. Forty years later, the Redemptorists introduced the Perpetual Novena to the nation. The honor of conducting the first Perpetual Novena in the Philippines goes, not to Baclaran, but to the Iloilo community, in May, 1946 in the Redemptorist Church of St. Clement. The Redemptorists community went first to a Malate parish in 1913 where they had a small, popular shrine to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. In 1932, the community transferred to Baclaran.(the church nave). Interestingly, the capacity of the first Baclaran church was not big enough and it can only accommodate up to 300 people. They didn’t expect that the shrine will earn such an overwhelming amount of devotees and so they considered moving to a bigger space. The present Modern Romanesque church is the third to be built on the same site. It was designed by architect César Concio. It took six years to build because most of the money came from small donations—the suggestion from the pulpit was 10 Philippine centavos per week—that often ran out requiring construction to stop. The foundation stone was laid on January 11, 1953 and on December 1, 1958 the new church was consecrated. The church opened with a mass on December 5, 1958 and has been open 24 hours ever since, never closing. On January 1958, the Philippine hierarchy officially declared the Baclaran Church to be the National Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help.The closer view of the altar. The icon is enshrined in an altar donated by the Ynchausti family, long-time supporters and friends. It is also covered by the so-called ciborium. 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 arched hallway of the churchAn image of crucified Christ A Huge mosaic image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help inside the Candles ChapelPart of the church’s redevelopment is the renovation of their wishing well. It now has Love Locks which gathers a lot of attention recently. It is also interesting to note that the church was initially dedicated to Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and this grotto of her memorialises her patronage.Love Locks in Baclaran Church.
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