By Christina Hermoso
The Santo Niño de Tondo Parish in Manila has been formally elevated into an archdiocesan shrine during a holy mass that was presided by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
In his homily, Tagle said, the parish’s declaration as an archdiocesan shrine must be seen as a deeper calling to help “strengthen the faith of its parishioners and the pilgrims who visit the church.”
The shrine, he said, “must always serve as a house of prayer and a sanctuary where the faithful can truly feel the presence of God.”
Tagle said, the Santo Nino Parish must serve as a “center of peace and justice as well as happiness, which the Child Jesus represents.”
“The shrine must also be a center for sharing and charity. Let your lifestyle here at the Sto. Niño de Tondo be a lifestyle of sharing by increasing your charity programs such as your livelihood and feeding programs,” Tagle said.
The prelate also called on the faithful to always make the archdiocesan shrine family-centered. Tagle urged parents “to bring their children to church where they can grow in faith. Always remember that every child is important and must be cared for, never neglected, and raised in a way that is pleasing to the Lord,” the Church leader stressed.
Tagle formally announced the elevation of the parish into as archdiocesan shrine last January 15 following the request of the local community and its parish priest Rev. Fr. Estelito Villegas. The Santo Niño de Tondo became a parish on May 3, 1572 under the Augustinian Friars.