Diocesan Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus

Facade of Diocesan Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus

Built in a record time of two years and ten months and starting with only Php 150,000, the Church of St. Jude Thaddeus in Barangay Alijis, Bacolod City never fails to awe and inspire.

It is a beautiful gift from God, enthused then Bacolod Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio when it officially opened on October 28, 1997. It is a monument to the spirit of community sharing, said the former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

To the faithful, however, it is nothing short of a miracle. Rising out of the land where sugarcane grew in the past, in a place that was more rural than urban even when it was a suburb, the Church of St. Jude Thaddeus has become a focal point of faith, a testament to the unerring grace of God and a very real and concrete proof of its namesake's universal reputation as the saint of hopeless or desperate cases.

From a chaplaincy, Barangay Alijis was elevated into a parish at the same time the church was opened. Until 1991, when Fr. Felix P. Pasquin was permanently assigned to the chaplaincy, the community had to content itself with a visiting priest from parishes it was attached.

Interior of Diocesan Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus

Before the magnificent church was built, however, the residents of Alijis had already proven they were a people of faith. In 1976 they came together and decided they needed a saint to which they would dedicate their place. They picked St. Jude Thaddeus on the recommendation of publisher Modesto P. Sa-onoy, a devotee who donated the first statue of the saint.

Pooling their resources together, they bought a foreclosed residence in one of the villages and converted it into a place of worship. Here, people would flock when the special novena for the saint was said on Thursday and on his feast day in October. Pretty soon, it was evident they needed a bigger place of worship.

Engineer Mario S. Macainan and his brother, Fr. Marcito S. Macainan, MSC, donated the 5,396 square-meter lot; Architect Ramiro L. Garcia, Jr., volunteered; and devotees--from the poorest of the poor to the wealthiest and most powerful--pitched in for the construction.

Donation boxes were placed in corner sari-sari stores, which were filled with the hard-earned centavos of the poor while devotees from all over the country and even abroad, hearing about the construction, would drop by and give. Sometimes, the donation came in kind. Sometimes, in cold cash. The biggest single envelope bulged with Php 732,000 in it.

The solemn dedication and blessing of the church was done on October 28, 1997 with His Eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal of Cebu officiating. In attendance were Bacolod Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio, Bishop Emeritus Antonio Y. Fortich and Bishop Emeritus Vicente G. Salgado as well as priests from the Dioceses of Bacolod, Kabankalan, San Carlos, and the Archdiocese of Jaro and countless other parishioners, devotees and guests.

The day of the solemn dedication saw the elevation of the chaplaincy into a new Parish and of the newly built church as a Diocesan Shrine, through the decrees promulgated by Bacolod Bishop Camilo D. Gregorio. Fr. Felix P. Pasquin was installed as the first parish priest and rector of the shrine.

Excerpt from Shrines, Incarnating Christ Today. St. Paul Philippines, 2004. Photos from panoramio.com and blogspot.com.

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