National Shrine of the Sacred Heart

Facade of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart

Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will refresh you --Matthew 11:28

Thus welcomes the smiling Sacred Heart of Jesus from the top of the parapet of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart on Sacred Heart Street, San Antonio Village, Makati. This once quiet and hidden Shrine suddenly came alive during the Jubilee year when it was declared a Jubilee Church and celebrated with the universal Church the Centenary of the Consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Roots of the Devotion

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is traced back to the series of apparitions between 1673-75 experienced by a Visitation nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque at Paray le Monial in France. From those apparitions she was asked to propagate first the devotion to the Sacred Heart in reparation for the sins of man, and then the institution of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. St. Claude de la Columbiere, a Jesuit, the Spiritual Adviser of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque further led the Society of Jesus in promoting the devotion which they continue to propagate and nurture all over the world, including the Philippines. It was natural then that since the Jesuits were the first priests to come and say regular Sunday Masses, the first lay organization in the village was the Apostleship of Prayer and the church they helped build was named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Beginnings of the Shrine

Interior of the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart

The beginning of the parish and the devotion to the Sacred Heart here sprung at the same time, both antedating the establishment of the parish.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart started in a makeshift chapel built by the San Antonio Village Women's Club under the leadership of the late Mrs. Paula P. Peña, Mrs. Leonor Tello, and Youth Club president Eddie Tabhan. The community was small, but even then the devotion to the Sacred Heart was a unifying force among them. It led to the establishment of the Apostleship of Prayer Center 1226 with Fr. Pedro Verceles, S.J. as adviser.

The makeshift chapel had to be transferred later elsewhere as the lot owner already needed the place. Other transfers took place while the community was growing and now wanted a permanent church so that they could have regular Masses and be able to receive the sacraments.

In Answer to a Prayer

After much prayer, searching for a place and a benefactor, in the course of their civic work they met Atty. Jose Feria of the Makati Citizen's League, who offered to help request the Ayala Corporation to lease the land where the church now stands. The Apostleship of Prayer was therefore incorporated for this purpose.

After the contract of the land lease was signed by the Ayalas, the Makati Citizen's League and the SAVAPCI, construction began. With the help of the inevitable fund-raising activities like bingo socials, generous contributions from residents, friends and devotees of the Sacred Heart, the church was finally finished. On December 18, 1971, the Sacred Heart church was blessed by Bishop Amado Paulino. Subsequently, Jesuit priests came regularly to say Sunday Mass.

Because of the tremendous influx of residents in the community, there came a pressing need to convert the church into a parish. Recognizing the need, the late Cardinal Santos assigned Fr. Nico Bautista to work for its conversion into the parish. The inevitable difficulties and growing pains attended the conversion, including a controversy over the transfer of the property to the Catholic Church, which had to be decided on by the Court. Settled in April 1975, the canonical erection of the parish was announced and was later declared the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. The Canonical Inauguration of the parish and shrine took place on February 14, 1976.

The Promises of the Heart of Christ

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary in their state of life.
  2. I will establish peace in their homes.
  3. I will comfort them in their afflictions.
  4. I will be their secure refuge during life and, above all, in death.
  5. I will bestow abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall grow fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection.
  9. I will bless every place where a picture of My Heart shall be exposed and honored.
  10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
  11. Those who shall promote this devotion shall have their names written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.

I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from,

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