The National Museum now considers the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City and its liturgical objects a "national cultural treasures," the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said early Wednesday.
In an article posted on its news site early Wednesday, the CBCP said the official declaration of this status will be made on October 4.
"Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, director of the Institute of Preaching, said the occasion will coincide with the traditional enthronement ceremonies of the canonical image of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, La Naval de Manila," the CBCP said
But the CBCP also noted that for its parishioners, the church is not only a cultural treasure but also a refuge of the poor.
This was the case earlier this year when many families stayed there in the wake of heavy rain and floods that swamped Metro Manila.
"During typhoons and floods, many families run inside for shelter and stay there for several days," it noted.
The CBCP said the original church structure, which was of gothic design, was originally located in Manila's Intramuros district, managed by the Dominicans.
It was reconstructed after it collapsed in 1589, and made of concrete this time.
The church was relocated to Quezon City in the 1960s after sustaining heavy damage in World War II, and became the new national shrine of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila.
"Since it is a shrine accessible to many residents of the city, the church became a melting pot of devotees from different places," the CBCP noted.
In December 1971, the autonomous Philippine Dominican Province was created, and the church was placed under the care of the Filipino Dominican priests.
On February 23, 1972, Sto. Domingo Church was canonically established and was declared a parish church.
"From among the clergy assigned to the parish, a priest is elected and recommended to the local bishop for appointment," the CBCP said. — ELR, GMA News