Sto. Sepulcro Parish

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Location

San Luis St., Brgy. Landayan, San Pedro City, Laguna

Priest Name

Rev. Fr. Edgar M. Titoy

Assistant Priest Name

Rev. Fr. Ritchie R. Fortus

The discovery of the miraculous image of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre is contained in a document entitled “The Parish Profile” which was prepared in 2004 after a thorough research work and personal interviews with elderly townsfolk of Barangay Landayan, San Pedro, Laguna. Thus, the official story which was adopted and written in a bronze marker installed at the main entrance of the Shrine reads:

“…the image of a dead Jesus was found by local fishermen on the shore of Landayan, San Pedro, Laguna. On the belief that the image is miraculous, they brought it up from the lake water, and placed it in a camarin inside a visita for veneration. This incident gave way to the devotion to Jesus in Holy Sepulchre, accompanied by miracle stories attributed to the image that were authenticated by local parishioners and devotees from neighboring provinces.”

This account on the origin of the image is most recently published in a 2022 book entitled Bagong Bisyon, Bagong Misyon – Pambansang Dambana ni Lolo Uweng.

There was no written document on the exact date of the discovery of the image. But a Spanish period bronze bell presently in the custody and care of the Parish reveals the most probable period of that discovery event. This artifact is now known as the Sto. Sepulcro Bell or Kampana ng Sto. Sepulcro.

According to the book, the bell was subjected in 2008 to a cursory look by Joseph Garcia, a museologist then working for the National Museum of the Philippines. Garcia’s brief report was as follows:

“The bell is made from a thick bronze metal, and in its waist are appliqued the Spanish words AÑO 1836, proof that most likely this bell was brought to Landayan in the year 1836. In its sound bow can be read these Spanish words:  A Đ VOC. Đ D. G. M. ESTA PERTEN. AL SEPVLCRO DEL SITIO Đ LANDAIAN, which in the Filipino language means the bell is destined for the Sepulcro of Sitio Landayan.”

This factual evidence justifies the presumption that the Sepulcro image has been in a church structure in Sitio Landaian (probably the old Spanish name of the place) in the old district of San Pedro Tunasan even before 1836.

Many long-time devotees recall seeing the name Emmanuel Salvador del Mundo etched or carved on the image’s wooden camarin (bier) which was placed on top of a concrete platform at the back of the visita.

No particular person was credited to have given this name to the miraculous image. But devotees agree that he or she must have been someone very knowledgeable on the Holy Book. Emmanuel Salvador Del Mundo is rich in spiritual meaning.

“Emmanuel” is a Hebrew word which means “God with Us”. “Emmanu” means with us, while “el” is God.  “Salvador” is a Spanish word which means “savior.” “Del Mundo” is also a Spanish word which means “of the world.”

The image has been called different names – Lelong Uweng, Mahal na Señor, Poon (Sacred Image), and most recently Lolo Uweng.

“Lelong Uweng” was the image’s original name. Filipino elderly men in Tagalog Region provinces were usually addressed Lelong (meaning grandfather) as a gesture of respect and politeness. “Uweng” was the common nickname for Emmanuel. Through time, the term Lelong lost its customary usage and was replaced by “Lolo” which is the more contemporary term for grandfather. Most likely, Lolo Uweng will already be the name of the venerated image for all time.

Lolo Uweng has also earned the moniker Journeying Jesus. Village elders said they would listen to devotees from far places talk about their encounter with an old man who introduced himself as Emmanuel Salvador del Mundo. He would invite them to visit his home in Landayan which he said stood alongside tall acacia trees. Many of them would accept the invitation and would be surprised to discover that the house the old man said to be his home was the Sto. Sepulcro Church. They would be even more startled upon seeing that the image inside the camarin looked like the old man they met.

The Brief History of the Shrine

“Visita” as Original Place of Worship and Veneration

There were also no written documents showing how the visita look like. But since Sitio Landaian was then located in a remote fishing area which abound with coconut trees and bamboo trees, the visita where the veneration of the image was said to have started, would be a typical hut-like structure made of bamboo, sawali and nipa, the commonly used building materials during the early 1800s when the Philippines was a colony of Spain.

In the decades that followed, the visita must have been improved to a simple chapel, which old folks may have called “kapilya”. The chapel floor, which used to be levelled earth, was cemented. The walls were a mix of hollow blocks at the lower portion and plain GI sheet in the upper portion. The roof used corrugated GI sheets. This may have also been the time when a church belfry was constructed, where the centuries old Sto. Sepulcro Bell made of thick bronze material weighing about 41 kilos, with a body length of 40 centimeters and a lip width of 36 centimeters, was installed.

Sto. Sepulcro Church

As more and more pilgrims flocked to Landayan on Fridays, church improvement projects have been continuing, helped along by cash and kind donations by generous benefactors, parishioners and pilgrims.

This may have been the time that the sacred image, initially called Sepulcro, has taken the name “Lelong Uweng”, from Emmanuel Salvador del Mundo and nicknamed “Lelong Uweng”. Lelong, a Malay word which may have been borrowed from the Portuguese word “leilao,” which means grandfather or elderly male person) was widely used in the Tagalog Region during that time.

The church floor was tiled, walls were concreted, and the roof used long span iron sheets. The sacred image was placed at the center of the altar atop a tomb-like structure about three feet wide, six feet long and six feet in height.

An old picture of a local wedding event held in 1958 in this church shows the main altar and retablo where the image was placed. To the left of the miraculous image was the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the right is the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pilgrims and devotees who visited Lelong Uweng would have to go to the back of elevated tomb where a rope belt tassel dangled for everyone to hold. At that time, holding any part of the image was not allowed, and the tassel somehow afforded a physical encounter with the venerated Sepulcro.

Sub-Parish Under the San Pedro Apostol Parish

In the 1960’s, the Sto. Sepulcro Church was annexed to the Parish of San Pedro Apostol in the town of San Pedro. In the present ecclesiatical set-up, this is called sub-parish.

There were times during the Lenten Season when the image of Lolo Uweng would be brought to the Poblacion for the Good Friday procession. At this time, the Parish Priest would also hold mass in Landayan, particularly every May 29 (feast day of Lolo Uweng) and every September 29 which is the feast of the barrio’s secondary patron – the San Miguel Arkanghel.

Counting more years, the pilgrim numbers continued to increase mostly from the neighboring towns in Laguna, Cavite, and Batangas. There were also pilgrims coming from the towns of Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Taguig, and Pateros, and even from the metropolitan cities of Makati, Pasay, and Manila.

Sto. Sepulcro Parish

On September 29, 1969, the Church of Sto. Sepulcro was officially declared as a separate parish under the Diocese of San Pablo. Its parochial jurisdiction included the San Pedro’s three coastal barangays of Landayan, San Roque and Cuyab.

During this time, the church has become one large concrete structure, with a priest convent and a parochial office. Bishop Pedro N. Bantigue of the Diocese of San Pablo decreed this status and designated Fr. Saturnino Cay as the first Parish Priest.

This was followed by the establishment of its own Parish Council of the Laity (PCL), which is now known as Parish Pastoral Council (PPC). The new parish has increasingly become a popular destination for pilgrims and devotees to the image of Lelong Uweng. It has also started to implement a robust program for Christian Catholic worship and formation, and a wide array of social services to its parishioners.

The ensuing series of renovation projects built a bigger church structure, expanding both sides of the 2,016 square meter church site. The image was placed inside a more modern camarin made of glass and aluminum framings and was positioned in an elevated platform at the middle of the church retablo, directly above the tabernacle. At this time, only the sacred image’s right body can be seen from inside the church and the left side body was made accessible to visitors through a stairway at the back of the church that leads to the camarin. Rules have changed at this time; thus, a pilgrim or devotee can touch the left hand of the image or wipe a handkerchief on the hands and clothes of the image.

It was during this period when “Lelong” was transitioned to “Lolo”, the modern time terminology for grandfather or elderly male person in Southern Luzon Region. This new name will perhaps be the image’s name forever.

Diocesan Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre

At the beginning of a new millennium in the Year 2000, Sto. Sepulcro PPC, led by then Parish Administrator Msgr. Jerry Bitoon, witnessed the exponential growth of pilgrims and devotees who made the miraculous image of Lolo Uweng the object of passionate devotion and his church as a place for popular piety. This inspired the vision to elevate the Parish to a Diocesan Shrine. The leaders worked together to prepare the comprehensive document “The Parish Profile” and sought the approval of the Bishop of the Diocese of San Pablo.

After a few months of deliberation by the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese, Bishop Leo M. Drona decreed the enshrinement of the Diocesan Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre, more popularly known as Shrine of Lolo Uweng. The enshrinement was held on December 1, 2006.

Mass Schedule

Sunday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE), 8:00 AM, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM (LIVE), 7:00 PM (Solemn Vespers, LIVE)
Monday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE), 6:00 PM
Tuesday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE), 6:00 PM
Wednesday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE), 6:00 PM
Thursday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE), 7:00 AM (HOLY HOUR, LIVE), 6:00 PM
Friday Time: VIA CRUCIS: 5:45 AM, 7:00 AM, 5:45 PM STO. SEPULCRO PARISH: 6:30 AM (LIVE), 7:30 AM, 8:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM (LIVE)
Saturday Time: 6:00 AM (LIVE)

Bank Transfer

Bank Name: Metrobank
Account Name: STO SEPULCRO PARISH-THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SAN PABLO INC
Account Number: 260-7-26051815-8

Money Transfer

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Online Mass

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