The Shrine of St. Therese in bustling NewportBy Mark Christian Lagarile
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Along with the traditional Lenten activities, like Visita Iglesia, Seven Last Words and Recollections, devotees also seek inspiration and guidance in their favorite pilgrimage sites. For those looking for a special and intimate religious experience, a sanctuary exists right at the heart of the booming Newport Area in Pasay City—the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.
The shrine, on a 6,244 sq m property, is a testament to the life and devotion of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as St. Therese of Lisieux. It was developed by Magnificat Ventures Corp. (MVC) and owned by the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, headed by Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak, DD.
St. Therese has touched people the world over with her faithfulness, simplicity and her “Little Way” that teaches us that great deeds are not necessary to show our love for God, only that we do all things with love.
There are many accounts that attest to miracles and prayers granted through her intercession and her fulfillment of her promise to “let fall a shower of roses” after her death. St. Therese said, “My mission is to make God loved and it will begin after my death. I will spend my heaven doing good on Earth.”
Known as the “Little Flower of Jesus,” she has been acclaimed the greatest saint of modern times, a doctor of the church, and the saint of the third millennium, in tribute to the powerful way her spirituality has influenced people all over the world.
Such is the appeal of her story and example that when her pilgrim relics visited the Philippines in 2008, thousands of Filipinos from all over the country gathered to welcome her.
Every detail of the shrine is dedicated to the life and spirituality of St. Therese, God’s Little Flower. It also houses a primary relic that her devotees can venerate. This relic was given as gift to the Shrine by Msgr. Bernard Lagoutte, the rector of the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux.
When you enter the church, you immediately feel serenity. The architecture was primarily influenced by the reliquary of St. Therese in Lisieux, Paris.
The cross-shaped structure has column-less interior, which gives an unobstructed view of the altar. The shrine has a 50-m long aisle and can comfortably seat close to 2,000, making it a perfect venue for Eucharistic celebrations, healing Masses, weddings and events such as the Talulot Festival, celebrated annually every first Sunday of October in honor of St. Therese’s feast day.
“Talulot” is the Filipino word for petal. It is believed that if you pray for her intercession, St. Therese sends a flower or a shower of flowers to signify that your prayer has been granted. Thousands of devotees have attended the Talulot festival, joining various activities like the Pontifical Mass, street dancing and musical competitions.
Fourteen stained glass windows adorn the church walls, depicting the life and times of St. Therese.
All details of the shrine, from the doors to the pews to the ceiling, represent St. Therese and her life, such as the age she died (24 years old), the number of books she wrote and her short but fulfilling years as a Carmelite nun.
Just below the shrine is a solemn columbarium named after St. Therese. It has an Ecclesiastical Museum devotees can visit to learn more about St. Therese and to reflect on the Way of the Cross.
For more information about the Shrine and Columbarium, contact the Shrine Office at 8543024 or MVC at 636-MARY (6279). You may also visit www.therese.ph.