The phenomenon of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Philippines is the thousands upon thousands of devotees that go to the Shrine 24/7. Every Wednesday thousand upon thousand make a lot of sacrifice to fulfill their devotion to our Mother.
This phenomenon all started when the Novena was begun in June 23, 1948. Since then, Baclaran was visited by thousands of people. Never did our founding Redemptorist fathers imagined that someday on this site will rise a shrine where thousands upon thousands of people from all over the country will flock day in day out. Indeed it was a phenomenon even a miracle, not the work of our own hands but God and Mother Mary and. Baclaran became a household name because of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and the warm affection and devotion of the Filipino people to Mary.
Church That’s Never Closed
Part of the Baclaran Phenomenon is the fact that the church is open 24 hours a day. It is a church that is never closed, not even when curfew was declared during the Marcos Martial Law era. According to Father O’Leary, permission for this was granted by Rome after being assured of ad¬equate security. Three shifts of private security guards assure good order night and day and there has never been a single case of vandalism.
Perhaps the closest to a security problem ever experienced in Baclaran was on Sept. 20th, 1997, eve of the big rally against Charter Change (Cha-Cha) jointly called by former Pres. Cory Aquino and Cardinal Sin. At least three bomb scares happened in churches, one of them at Baclaran. After receiving a phone call, the chief of the security guards found a suspicious looking package behind the statue of St. Gerard Majella near the entrance of the church. (One newspaper mistakenly reported the statue to be that of St. Ignatius of Loyola!) It was a bomb and it was detonated outside in the car park causing no injury to anyone. It is edifying to often see at night a taxi without passengers pulling up into the parking lot and the taxi driver going in for a brief prayer before resuming his nocturnal rounds of the city. A visiting Redemptorist Consultor General recently went to the choir loft ill the small hours of the morning and counted 150 people in the church. To be sure, some would be sleeping soundly in the benches. But others, surprisingly, could be observed praying fervently, even walking on their knees. Many of those who visit in the early morning hours come from the nightspots along Roxas Boulevard. Often these are celebrities who want to avoid the glare of the media. Some, no doubt, would be the paid entertainers themselves.
After the World Youth Day held in Manila in January 1995 graced by the Pope’s presence, some Italian priests came away very impressed to have found a church that is never closed. When Pope John Paul II held his traditional meeting with the Roman clergy during Lent that year, one of them spoke about Baclaran and, to warm applause, suggested to the Pope that it might be imitated in Rome! The nearest thing to this happening in Rome is the four major basilicas, unlike the other churches in Rome, do remain open even during the holy siesta hour.
Taken from: Baclaran Church