The Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City (QC) and its liturgical objects were officially declared by the National Museum as National Cultural Treasures during the opening of the annual celebration of La Naval de Manila held October 4.
The public declaration also coincided with the traditional enthronement ceremonies of the canonical image of Our Lady of the Rosary (or the Nuestra Señora del Santisimo Rosario), La Naval de Manila at her shrine also at the Sto. Domingo Church.
The declaration, according to the National Museum, recognizes Santo Domingo-La Naval both as an institution and a structure, as well as a repository of modern art.
A National Cultural Treasure is a cultural property, a unique object found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is significant and important to the country.
Also, archaeological objects are qualified to be declared as National Cultural Treasures for its outstanding value to the history and identity of Filipinos.
It also has historical significance because of its association with prehistoric events and past industries that are the foundation of the Filipino culture.
Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner, O.P., prior provincial of the Philippine Dominican Province and chancellor of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) formally accepted the declaration handed by Dr. Jeremy Barns, Director of the National Museum.
He said that “the Church serves as an heirloom of the Filipino people.” According to him, the treasure “is not just a treasure of the Catholic faithful, but of the entire nation.” “This place is where the heart of the nation belongs,” he added.
According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the original church structure, which was of Gothic structure architecture, was previously located in Intramuros, Manila and managed by the Dominican Order.
After the structure collapsed in 1589, it was reconstructed with concrete materials.
In the 1960s, the Sto. Domingo Church was relocated to Quezon City after massive destruction caused by Second World War.
It also became the new national shrine of the Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval de Manila.
During the creation of the autonomous Philippine Dominican Province in December 1971, the church was placed under the care of the Filipino Dominican priests.
Sto. Domingo Church was canonically established and was declared a parish church on February 23, 1972.
For the parishioners, the church is not only a cultural treasure but also a refuge of the poor.
Santo Domingo, the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary, is the first National Cultural Treasure in Quezon City and the 72nd place in the country to be declared as such.
The La Naval festivities will continue for nine days with Eucharistic celebrations, novena prayers, and the rosary. A grand procession of Our Lady of La Naval will be held on Oct. 14.