Blessed John Paul II devotees want new parish in Bataan
Retired Navy Commodore Amado Sanglay, executive director of the Bataan Technology Park Inc. (BTPI) said they will do everything for the pope who visited the site 30 years ago.
“That is really one of our visions, to eventually turn the memorial shrine into a chaplaincy or a church," Sanglay said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news site.
The Memorial Shrine of Blessed John Paul II at the BTPI (formerly the Philippine Refugee Camp Processing Center) in Morong, Bataan was formally inaugurated on May 2.
Hundreds of Catholics witnessed the inauguration of the shrine led by Santos and local officials including former First Lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.
According to the CBCP article, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos told the BTPI officials that church officials are amenable to the plan but the property should be owned by the Diocese of Balanga.
“I told them that they have to donate the place… the area (shrine) should be owned by the diocese," Santos was quoted as saying.
In reply, Sanglay said “Certainly the board of BTPI will understand that (condition)… I don’t see any problem."
Santos said the diocese intends to take the necessary steps to turn the memorial shrine into a parish.
“We will not stop here... the plan of the diocese is also to make a chaplaincy and then eventually a parish in the name of Blessed John Paul II," Santos said.
The memorial shrine currently falls under the Parish of Our Lady of the Pillar in Morong town.
Home of "boat people"
The BTPI was the home of some 400,000 Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees known as the “boat people."
The memorial shrine is located at the site where John Paul II celebrated a Mass with the refugees on February 21, 1981.
Its altar is a replica of the “papal stage" with a life-size image of the pontiff aboard a boat with a family of boat people.
The chapel’s altar façade was subsequently incorporated into the shrine, which was built from indigenous and recycled materials.
Concrete slabs from the stage used by the pope were also preserved and laid on the steps of the shrine’s main entrance. - VVP, GMA News