Hundreds of faithful had gathered at the historic Binondo Church to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its declaration as Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo on Saturday, July 23.
Leading the High Mass was the Basilica Rector, Rev. Fr. Andy Ortega Lim, and concelebrated by its Parochial Vicar, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mary Sigfred Arellano, and visiting priest, Rev. Fr. Joaquim Mascarenhas.
The Eucharistic celebration started with Fr. Lim raising for the very first time the Apostolic Brief or the official document issued by the Vatican containing the declaration at the altar of Binondo Church.
Later on, the rector read the English translation of the Papal decree, which was originally written in Latin – another first since 1992 when the former Manila Archbishop, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin read it during the proclamation ceremony on October 25 of the said year.
The basilica rector pointed out an important reminder that Binondo Church must instill to everyone as the minor basilica dedicated to the Philippines’ protomartyr and first saint.
“We thank God for giving us the title of minor basilica. We also pray that we may continue to promote and spread the devotion to San Lorenzo Ruiz,” Fr. Lim said in his homily.
“But let us not only pray for us to spread and promote the devotion. What we also have to pray is to be able to imitate his life: being a good husband, being a good father, being a good family man, being a firm Christian. That’s why we have given this title ‘Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz’ because of its special devotion to the first Filipino Chinese saint and because of its significance as being the Filipino Chinese who was raised at this very place, the heart of Chinatown – Binondo,” he added.
Fr. Lim also extended the greetings to all the devotees and parishes that carry his name as the Basilica serves as the center of devotion to the first Filipino saint.
Established in 1596, Binondo Church was first known as Church and Convent of Saint Gabriel and eventually became the Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary until July 23, 1992 when Pope John Paul II approved the petition to elevate it as a minor basilica in honor of one of the first Filipino saint who once served the church as altar server and escribiente or an office clerk. (Lem Leal Santiago | Photo by Anton Maria Francesco Carabeo)