Visita Iglesia: Shrine of Our Lady of Grace

It’s Semana Santa (Lenten Season) once again. It is the season for remembering the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord. In the Philippines, we have plenty of ways to celebrate Lent. Some people do some self-flagellation. A few do the extreme and have themselves crucified on the cross. Of course, there are less painful means of celebrating Lent one of which is the Visita Iglesia.

Visita Iglesia is done by visiting at least seven churches during Holy Thursday. The traditional Visita Iglesia is done by walking from one church to another. Prayers, particularly the Holy Rosary, are said at every church.

It's has been a tradition of mine to feature 7 churches during Lent. This is a sort of a virtual Visita Iglesia. This is my way of letting my readers “visit” some interesting Catholic churches in the Philippines.

Now let's begin the virtual Visita Iglesia with the big church in Grace Park, Caloocan City:

Shrine of Our Lady of Grace


I rarely visit the city of Caloocan that's why I don't post much about this place. The few places that I visited in Caloocan are the Bonifacio's Monument and the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace.

I already mentioned this church during my post about the Filipinos for Life Lenten pilgrimage last year. The Shrine of Our Lady of Grace, also known as Grace Park Parish Church, is the first station of our pilgrimage.

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) established the parish church in 1947. This religious congregation traditionally name their mission station after Mary or Notre Dame (French for Our Lady). Since the small quonset hut chapel that they erected is located at Grace Park, they fittingly named it after Our Lady of Grace.

Facade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace
Mary, our lady of Grace.


Mary has a special place in the heart of the Filipino people. Many frequented the church in Grace Park to ask Mary's intercession. In time, the small chapel grew into a big shrine that can hold around 30,000 people.

Interior of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace


The altar is very spacious. The only altar that, I think, is as spacious as this is the one in Baclaran Church. My only problem with this church is that the Tabernacle was placed at the side.


Altar of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace

As I had said a hundred times in this blog, the Tabernacle must be in the center of the altar since it holds the Body of Christ – the center of Catholic worship. The chairs for the priests should be the ones placed at the side.

Central image of Jesus Christ in Shrine of Our Lady of Grace


The shrine's altar features the ascension of Jesus Christ. I have no qualms with this but I still prefer the image of the crucified Christ.

Ceiling of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace


The ceiling, on the other hand, features the descent of the Holy Spirit. I think that this painting symbolizes the outpouring of grace to those who are present in the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace. This is the perfect image for a church dedicated to Our Lady of Grace.

Icon of St. Michael in the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace


Of course, there are plenty of icons inside the shrine. My favorite of these would be the icon of Saint Michael the Archangel. I like the way he is portrayed here. Stepping on the Dragon's neck as he's about to deliver the death blow. He looks so badass.

I heard that my fellow-pilgrims last year started again this year's pilgrimage at the Shirne of Our Lady of Grace. Too bad that I didn't join them. My wish is that I will be able to join the yearly F4L pilgrimage next year so that I can enter the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace Church once again.

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Some information on this blog post were obtained from the website of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace. Schedules of Holy Mass, confession, baptism and other sacraments may be read in that website.

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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.
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