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A Church in Tarlac, the Philippines

Parokya ni San Josemaria Escriva” is the name, in Tagalog, of the first church dedicated to St. Josemaría Escrivá in the Philippine archipelago and in all of Asia. Eleven years after it was erected canonically on February 24, 2003, the parish now has a definitive church, constructed in Gerona, Tarlac, a community situated some 80 miles from Manila.

On February 14, the new parish church was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Florentino Cinense of Tarlac. “This Church is dedicated to St. Josemaría because he is the saint of ordinary life, who reminded us that we can find God in the fulfillment of our ordinary daily duties,” the bishop said in an interview. The diocese of Tarlac was thus putting into effect its plan to assign future parishes to the patronage of contemporary saints. “These saints experienced what we ourselves are living through today,” Bishop Cinense said, “and we hope that our faithful will be able to relate to them.”

When helping out in the construction of the church, the local parish people tried to explain to many others the message of the universal call to holiness and distributed prayer cards of their new patron, St. Josemaría.

Presiding over the church building is a large statue of a guardian angel. A light illuminates it at night to serve as a guide and a point of reference for those who walk through the area. Between the two main entrance doors there is a large “medallion” with the figure of St. Josemaría in profile. The sanctuary of the church has a reredos composed of scenes of the Annunciation, the Holy Family at work, the flight into Egypt, and the Nativity. To the left of the Tabernacle there is a picture of St. Josemaría, and on the opposite side a space has been reserved for a picture of Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, which will be installed after his beatification.

Romana, No. 58, January-June 2014, p. 80-81.