The Shrine of Jesus in The Holy Sepulchre
The plan to elevate the parish into a Diocesan Shrine was mapped out at the turn of the century, upon the initiative Msgr. Jerry V. Bitoon, as Parish Administrator, and the Parish Pastoral Council led by its president Bro. Cesar de Sagun. A document called “Parish Profile” was prepared and submitted to the Diocese of San Pablo. This was a comprehensive presentation on Lolo Uweng’s origin, testimonies of faith, and a plan for the management and operations of the proposed shrine.
The “Build a Dream, Build a Shrine” project was launched as a vehicle to fund the infrastructure requirements of the proposed shrine. Under this project, a three-storey pilgrim center was built. Also constructed were the Veneration Chapel,Adoration Chapel,Confessionals, Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, Parish Office and the Parish Priest Residence.
In the midst of the preparation for shrinehood, Msgr. Jerry Bitoon was summoned to the Vatican to work for Pope Benedict XVI. He was replaced by Fr. Jeremias O. Oblepias, who took the cudgels for Msgr. Bitoon. Soon enough, with the completion of all requirements, the Parish was formally declared and consecrated as the Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre on December 1, 2006.
In 2007, Rev. Msgr. Jose D. Barrion was appointed Parish Priest of Sto. Sepulcro and concurrently Rector of the Shrine. He immediately launched a program to pursue further improvement in shrine facilities.In 2008,a new belfry was constructed equipped with Carillon Digital System. To enhance security measures within the church vicinity, a closed circuit television (CCT) system was also installed. Year 2009 saw the installation of a new tabernacle, the so-called heart of the church. In the same year, the church was fully air-conditioned, the only one of its kind in the Diocese at that time. In time for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the parish in May 2010, the Shrine acquired 80 sets of new church pews and completed the construction of a modern and more convenient rest rooms.
Alongside these temporality projects, Msgr. Barrion initiated several initiatives to propagate the devotion to Lolo Uweng. He approved the publication of two documentary and devotional books on Lolo Uweng, to wit, “Lolo Uweng ng Landayan: Sa Isip at Puso ng mga Deboto” (November 2008) and “Buhay na Hesus sa Banal na Libingan” (March 2010), both authored by Sonny A. Ordona. Both books carried a foreword by Msgr. Barrion.
Formation activities have also intensified, particularly the catechetical instructions for children, Catholic Life in the Spirit Seminars (CLSS), and Liturgical Bible Study. Church-mandated organizations like the Knights Of Columbus, Couples For Christ and other religious groups pursued their respective ministries and apostolates with more vigor and passion.
Holy Sepulchre is well on its way to realizing its vision to become “a true and caring spiritual oasis in the Diocese that sincerely gives comfort, enlightenment and the nourishment that the devotees need to achieve a genuine spiritual growth, sustained by steadfast faith and lively devotion.”