From the Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of La Naval Manila, we go to another shrine dedicated to another saint who is also much revered by Filipino Catholics. Our second station for our virtual Visita Iglesia is in the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, which is more popularly known as the Binondo Church.
Binondo Church is a famous structure that marks the entrance to Binondo Chinatown. It was established by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve the large number of Chinese converts in the area. The original structure was destroyed during the British bombardment in 1762. The second structure was destroyed during the Second World War.
The church became the basilica for San Lorenzo Ruiz of its connection to the saint. San Lorenzo trained in Binondo Church before he was sent to a mission to Japan.
Notice that the image of San Lorenzo is holding palm leaves in his left hand. The palm frond signifies the fact that San Lorenzo received the crown of martyrdom. The Japanese killed the saint, together with his companions, because they don’t want to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.
My favorite part of Binondo Church is its altar.
I like it because the tabernacle is at the center, which is its rightful place. Above the tabernacle is the image of Mama Mary robed in golden clothing and carrying the child Jesus. Flanking them are the images of saints, many of whom I am not familiar.
The ceiling at the altar shows the painting of Saint Michael the Archangel and other angels. Looking at that painting give an assurance that I am fully protected from the Devil because Saint Michael and the heavenly hosts.
The ceiling of Binondo Church is painted with the scenes from the Bible. The paintings are arranged based on the mystery of the Holy Rosary. The center part of the ceiling shows the Glorious Mystery:
|The Ascension and Crowning of Virgin Mary.|
The left part of the ceiling shows the Sorrowful Mysteries:
The right part of the ceiling shows the Joyful Mysteries:
|Finding of Jesus in the Temple and the Presentation.|
Looking below the church’s dome make you think that you are looking through heaven. There are so many cherubim looking down upon you.
The stained-glass windows are also good to look at.
If you are somewhere in Binondo Chinatown, I highly recommend that you visit Binondo Church. Many tourists go to this church because of it being a part of the Manila’s heritage. Devotees of San Lorenzo Ruiz must visit this church because this is where he learned and grew up in the Faith.
Prayer to San Lorenzo Ruiz
Beloved SAN LORENZO RUIZ DE MANILA, confronted with death, you proclaimed your readiness to die a thousand times for your Christian faith. Today the whole world admires your courage. We feel particularly proud of you as our brother. And we pray: You, a family man, protect our families. Keep them united in love. You, who bore your sufferings with patience and resignation, intercede for the sick of mind and body; help them to receive the grace of God’s miraculous healing. You, who died in a foreign country, take care of Filipinos living and working in this country and in other parts of the world. You, an example of Christian fortitude, sustain our faith and make it spread and grow strong all around us. You, the Philippines’ first saint, be the country’s special protector. Unite us as one people; help us to work in harmony for development and progress; and give us peace. AMEN.
(State your intentions). San Lorenzo Ruiz, pray for us.
Visita Iglesia is a Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches during Maundy Thursday. For each day, this Holy Week, I will feature one church as a sort of virtual Visita Iglesia.
May the Lord deepen our faith in Him this Holy Week! Amen.
For more prayers to San Lorenzo Ruiz, please visit the website dedicated to him.