This Holy Week, make time to visit a church to reflect what is happening to your life or to even improve your relationship with God.
Located in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, which is few kilometres away from Metro Manila, one of the churches that you can visit is the National Shrine and Parish of Saint Padre Pio.
Founded on June 28, 2003, the pilgrimage site has two churches – the Main Church and the Divine Mercy Church. The structure of the Main Church is made mostly of “indigenous materials such as wood, stone, bamboo, sasa or nipa leaves and sawali or woven bamboo strips.” The shape of church’s roof is similar to a salakot – a traditional Filipino hat. Our Lady of Mercy stands at the top of the roof.
The Main Church has a replica of the Glorious Cross which was used during the Jubillee Year 2000. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is located at the back while the Baptistery is underneath it.
Saint Padre Pio including similar designs from the Main Church can be seen in the following:
- Mother of Mercy Belfry
- John Mary Vianney Chapel of Reconciliation
- Sanctuary of the True Cross of Christ
- Holy Water Sanctuary
- Divine Mercy Church
Other structures built within the National Shrine include the following:
- parish rectory
- office and religious store
- the Fountain of Hope
- the Stations of the Cross
- Please see the attached picture for Mass Schedule every day.
Stations of the Cross
- For those who would like to do Stations of the Cross this Holy Week, stations are found in strategic locations inside the National Shrine. Expect a huge crowd of pilgrims this week.
- You can offer a white rose for answered prayers and red rose for prayer requests. There are also love / petition offering boxes inside the church.
The Practical Side
- How To Get There
- If you plan to commute via bus, there are a number of buses like Jac Liner, Jam, Lucena Lines, DLTB, among others. Just look for the signage Sto. Tomas, Batangas and always verify with the conductor if it will pass by Saint Padre Pio Nationa Shrine. From the main road, you can either walk towards the shrine or ride a tricycle.
- If you plan to bring your own vehicle, take the SLEX and use the Sto. Tomas Exit. Waze can easily guide you to the National Shrine.
- You have two options – you can park in private lots informally managed by owner’s “boys”. Parking rate is P50.00 for the first 3 hours.
- Or proceed to the back of the National Shrine and there is a huge parking space for pilgrims and churchgoers. This is free of charge but can be very crowded at times.
- Whether you park in private lots or inside the shrine, please take care of your valuables, always.
- Smoking is prohibited inside the National Shrine.
- Enough restrooms can be found in strategic locations inside the National Shrine.
- Souvenir Items
- There are thrift shops inside the National Shrine that carry Saint Padre Pio’s replica in the form of ref magnets, bracelet, and figurine, among others. Similar items are also available in the registered vendors outside the National Shrine but within its vicinity.
- Candles are available for P10 each if you believe in color coordinated intentions. There are candles available in bundles (of 6).
- You can bring food inside the National Shrine but you can only eat it in designated areas. You can also buy food and pasalubong in thrift stores.
- Outside the National Shrine are food options that you can choose from – fast food chains or local restaurants showcasing a Batangas cuisine.
- Instagram-Worthy Scenery
- Almost every part of the National Shrine is IG-worthy. Just make sure that for every picture that you take comes with a solemn act or prayer so as not to disturb the essence of the place and the Holy Week as well.
Saint Padre Pio is known as the patron saint of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and stress relief yet thousands of devotees from all walks of life pray to him.
The National Shrine is a real estate structure that is meant to last for a lifetime. It binds the pilgrims in one place and to be closer to God and it also showcases a religious structure that the real estate industry can truly be proud of.