Ilocos Norte church set for proclamation as minor basilica

LAOAG CITY –– The Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte is now being readied for its official proclamation as ‘minor basilica’ early next year.

The official date of proclamation will be announced during the Eucharistic celebration at 5 p.m. on Thursday, at the Badoc church, where Ilocos Norte’s patroness, La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc is enshrined.

The title of a minor basilica , which also entails the eligibility to some ecclesiastical privileges because of its “special bond of communion with the Pope,” is granted to a church that meets certain criteria such as antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and significance as center of worship.

According to canon law, no church building can be honored with the basilica title unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom.

For a Badoc resident and church historian Father Danilo Laeda, he did not expect it not even in his wildest dreams that Badoc Church would be elevated to a minor basilica.

“Now that this shrine of the Badoc Virgen Milagrosa is being elevated to a minor basilica, I could only exclaim with so much gratitude to God: Lord, not in my wildest dreams!” said Laeda as he shared that the lowly parish church in his hometown has inspired him to become a priest.

“It was in this church where I became a child of God through baptism, sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit through confirmation, experienced the loving mercy of a loving God through confession, shared the table of the Lord through my first communion,” the priest historian narrated in his Facebook timeline.

“It was in this church that my formative years as a Christian was nurtured, which led me to embrace a vocation to the priesthood,” Laeda added.

Built during the Spanish colonial period, the Saint John the Baptist parish church is relatively a small parish with S-shape buttresses like the historic Paoay Church. With the help of some Ilocano balikbayans from California and local donors, its old remaining buttresses after the church collapsed due to the 1983 earthquake were preserved up to this day.

According to Laeda, the Badoc Church becomes the fourth minor basilica in Northern Luzon next to Manaoag in Pangasinan, Piat in Cagayan and the one in Agoo, La Union.

Since the May 31, 2018 pontifical coronation of La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc with the infant Jesus, led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, thousands of pilgrims and devotees have been visiting this church, which is believed to have been chosen as the sanctuary of the miraculous image of the Blessed Mother.

For a December 25-born Joey Quiaoit from neighboring Pinili town, his continuous devotion to the La Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc has granted his heart’s desire.

“I feel so blessed. God really works in mysterious ways,” said Quiaoit on Wednesday.

Municipal Tourism Officer of Badoc Cesar Jade Raquel, who is also a Marian devotee said, his hometown is “lucky and blessed” to have been chosen as a “faith tourism” destination.

“With the elevation of Badoc Church as a minor basilica, we are expecting more tourists to visit our town like what the Manaoag Church has become,” said Raquel as he enjoined the help of local officials, local residents and members of the Philippine National Police to maintain a peaceful and orderly Badoc town.

Last November 30, 2018, the office of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments approved the application of the Laoag diocese, represented by Bishop Renato Mayugba, to elevate the status of the Saint John the Baptist Church in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.