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The National Shrine of St. Joseph

Some record shows that the Jesuits started constructing the church in 1601 and some said it was in 1638. St. Joseph the Patriarch was installed as the patron saint and it is one of the oldest publicly venerated image of the saint in our country. The work was slow and hard that it was fully finished in 1848 during the term of Fr. Gregorio de San Antonio de Padua as parish priest. In mid 1700’s, the Jesuits abandoned the parish which the Augustinians took over later.

In 1922, a strong earthquake damaged the church. The parish priest Fr. Francisco Blanco, hastily repaired the church. It was during the time of the Rev. Fr. Manuel Yap in 1935 that the church undergone a major reconstruction. After that, the church no longer possessed the original aura of antiquity and old ambiance of a Spanish building.

In 1936, a bell tower was added on top of the church façade. However, during the closing phase of the Second World War, an American bomb blew her roof open and severely damaged the bell tower which they believed sheltered Japanese Imperial forces. After the war, the church was repaired and there was a new façade and two bell tower at both sides. In reply to the municipal council’s request, the bell tower at the center was toppled down to prevent accident that the damaged bell tower would go down anytime. Cement walls replaced the old thick stones of the church.

When the Most Reverend Antonio Rañola was installed as the parish priest in 1990, another major reconstruction took place. He envision of transforming the parish church into a beautiful place of adoration. In 1996, again, the church went in another major renovation. The ceiling and the 50 year old roof were demolished. The church was closed for four years. The mass was said at the side of the church in the Parish Social Hall and it took 6 years to fully complete the reconstruction.

In August 6, 2001, his Eminence Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the Cardinal of Cebu, declared the yet unfinished reconstructed church of Mandaue a National Shrine. On January 30, 2002, a fire that started in the Mandaue Public Market damaged its altar but was repaired months after due to the support from the people of Mandaue.

Source: The National Shrine of St. Joseph

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