The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy



Facade of the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy

In the heart of Mandaluyong City towers a beautiful Holy Structure--a product of faith, perseverance, and the trust in Jesus by devotees who put their acts together to bring forth a center for the devotion to the Divine Mercy. This Holy Structure is the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy, the first Shrine in Asia Pacific dedicated to Jesus, King of Mercy.

It was on January 30, 1967, that the Ortigas and Co., Ltd. executed a Deed of Donation to the Municipality of Mandaluyong indicating that a portion of the lot, with an area of 2,502 sq. m., be used as a site for the building of a Catholic Chapel. The Church leaders made appeals from the mayor to another for the implementation of the Deed of Donation. The case dragged on for years. Efforts proved to be futile.

On December 1990, the Church leaders pressured the Municipal Government with a threat of a combination of press releases and action. Despite serious objections presented by his advisers and lawyers, then Mayor Benjamin Abalos agreed to implement the Deed of Donation. Since the exact place is already a park, Msgr. Salvador R. Jose, then Vicar Forane and also the Parish Priest of San Felipe Neri, together with the Church leaders and Mayor Abalos agreed to swap the donated lot with an alternative site, the playground which has an area of 1,500 sq. m. and the site of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Plainview, which has an area of about 360 sq. m. With this in place, Don Paco Ortigas gave his conforme on the agreement. This was sanctioned by the Municipal Council, a manifestation that the donation was already a resolution. The low was thus utilized for the construction of a Catholic Church.

The devotion to the Divine Mercy was already spreading throughout the Philippines and there was no Shrine yet dedicated to the Divine Mercy. Msgr. Jose noted the seed of desire of the believers and followers of the special devotion for a fitting home of the image of the Divine Mercy. Thus, it was conceptualized that the name of the Church be the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. However, since it will gain the status of a National Shrine only upon the approval of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and this would take about five years, it was named Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy.

Interior of the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Divine Mercy

This home of the Divine Mercy has a simple and practical design by Architect Chris Montoya of a two-storey building. The design concept appears simple and imposing to give a lasting impression. The steep roof with a cross at the apex depicts the Mount of Calvary. The ridge lines of the roof may resemble the rays of the Divine Mercy.

The Shrine was “built by the Filipino people as a sacred, living and lasting symbol of their special devotion to the Divine Mercy as propagated by Blessed Faustina Kowalska, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” It is envisioned to be the center of devotion to Jesus, King of Mercy, and a haven for the spiritual growth and temporal upliftment.

It enshrines the world's biggest painting of the image of the Divine Mercy, measuring 6x3 meters. The image, a reproduction of Adolf Hyla's painting of the Divine Mercy, was done by an amateur Polish painter in about two months instead of six months as such a size would normally require. The painting consists of four parts which was carefully placed together that one could hardly notice that it is not one piece. It was financed by the devotees of the Divine Mercy of Union City, California, and brought to the Philippines by Sr. Gratia Kelly and Sr. Maria Gluminska of the International Shrine of the Divine Mercy, Krakow, Poland.

When the two Sisters arrived in Manila on February 26, 1996 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the painting was nowhere to be found. It got lost. It was only after two days that the image was found. When it was claimed through a representative, it was released immediately, without any hassle. No documents were required which would normally be the case. The image hangs on the main altar wall, captivating the beholder who waits to be touched by mercy. Since then, this image has become the main attraction of the Shrine. By means of this image, a soul receives many graces. Recipients of miracles, especially conversion, has borne witness to the love and mercy of the Divine Mercy.

Also housed in the Shrine is the bone relic of Blessed Faustina Kowalska, Apostle of Mercy, which was also brought to the Philippines by the two Sisters.

Another feature of the Shrine is the carillon bells which were ordered and manufactured from Belgium. Its sound could be heard from a distance, capturing the attentive ear of the people especially when it tolls at three in the afternoon, the Hour of Great Mercy.

The Shrine is indeed a national symbol of God's mercy to the Filipino Nation.

Promises of the Divine Mercy

The Sacred Image

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over (its) enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (I, 18) By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls (II, 162).

Feast of Mercy

On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day are open all the divine floodgates through which graces flow (II, 138).

Chaplet of Mercy

The souls that will say this chaplet will be embraced by My mercy during their lifetime and especially at the hour of their death (II, 171). When they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior (V, 125).

The Hour of Great Grace for the World

In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (IV, 59). In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world--mercy triumphed over justice (V, 145).

Proclamation of the Divine Mercy

Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful heart, and I will fill it with peace (III, 20). Souls who spread the honor of My mercy I shield through their entire life as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior (III, 20). Tell My priests that hardened sinners will repent on hearing their words, when they will speak about My unfathomable mercy, about the compassion I have for them in My Heart. To priests who will proclaim and extol My mercy, I will give wondrous power, and I will anoint their words and touch the hearts of those to whom they will speak (V, 115).

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from metromanilachurchceremonyvenues.blogspot.com, manualtolyf.blogspot.com.

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