60th Anniversary Manila Cathedral Basilica Exhibit

Manila Cathedral Basilica marks another milestone as the 60th anniversary of post war reconstruction festivities have started to highlight the achievement.

Manila Cathedral Basilica
Manila Cathedral Basilica logo

The logo includes the words ’60th Diamond Jubilee’ with the facade of the cathedral with a moon and 12 stars on its lower half. This also marked the completion of the reconstruction of the church which started a slow rebuilding phase from 1952 to 1954 then 1954 to 1958.

In past years, the Manila Cathedral used the insignia of the Manila archbishop, and was eventually given the privilege to use the papal emblem when it was elevated to a basilica in 1981 by Pope John Paul II. In recent years, it has also used the image of the cathedral as its seal.

The moon and stars symbolize the Virgin Mary, while its sky-blue color is a tribute to the Marian character of the church, said the cathedral’s vice rector, Fr. Kali Llamado.

The new theme of the cathedral is “First Our Church, Forever Our Mother.” The logo, designed by Bluethumb Creative Agency, takes the form of a crest “as a reminder and how it has endured with the people in spite of crisis and calamity.”

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facade of Manila Cathedral Basilica 

Year-long Celebration

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila and the new papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, opened the exhibit last December 2017 inside one of the cathedral’s smaller chapels on Friday to mark the beginning of the year long celebration of the church’s 60th postwar anniversary in 2018.

Manila Cathedral Basilica

The opening of the exhibit, “Manila Cathedral: A Legacy of Architecture and Faith,” and the launching of the Manila Cathedral’s own logo, coincided with the Archdiocese of Manila’s celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Manila Cathedral Basilica
Architect Fernando Hizon Ocampo and Galo B. Ocampo

Galo B. Ocampo was sent to Rome in 1956 by the Archbishop of Manila to train in designing stained glass for the Manila Cathedral. For the cathedral he did the seals of different Archbishops of Manila as well as those of Manila, and various images and attributes of-the Virgin Mary in the country.

Architect Fernando Hizon Ocampo and Artist Galo B. Ocampo both hails from the province Pampanga.

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Post War Reconstruction 

In the last four centuries, the Manila Cathedral was destroyed by typhoon, fire,  earthquakes and war seven times over. In the year 1954 until 1958, the present cathedral was constructed under Rufino Jiao Cardinal Santos with the supervision of the notable Filipino architect Fernando H. Ocampo.

Ambassador Iwataro Uchiyama (Governor of Kanagawa, 1947-1967) contributed to the completion of the Manila Cathedral (VIII) with construction funds and a donation of 60,000 bags of difficult-to-procure cement, solicited from street corners in Japan. A marker was also installed in April 18, 1965.

Among the important exhibits includes documents, commemorative stamps, marble pillars of the old cathedral , wooden religious sculptures, blue prints, old photos and liturgical vestments.

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The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, as solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854, teaches that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.

Manila Cathedral Basilica

liturgical vestments

The exhibit is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Rence Chan

writer and contributor

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