“Ut Clarificetur Nomen Domini”
Decree of Proclamation of the Santo Niño Church as “Basilica Minore”
In Perpetual Testimony
The church of Santo Niño in Cebu, noted for its antiquity, magnificent in its art, and most famous for the practice in it of Christian piety, does truly attract the hearts of the faithful, that “the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified.”
The present church was built in 1740, but actually stands on the same site where other churches had previously stood. The earliest of them is indeed worthy of memory because in 15765, exactly four hundred years ago, the first heralds of the gospel, and in particular Father Andres de Urdaneta, of the Order of Saint Augustine, whom Our predecessor Pius XIII once called “a man of genius and father of a race of apostles.” On their first landing in Cebu built on the same location where a beautiful image of the Infant Jesus was found a house of worship dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, which thus became verily “mater et caput” or fountain-head of all other churches in the Philippine Islands. A new age was then born for these Islands, that Christian era which was brought for them the greatest blessings in both religious and worldy life.
This church, which in so evidently the glory of Cebu, is indeed outstanding as regards architecture and art in baroque and Colonial styles, is of generous proportions, and is further enhanced with marble and other previous materials. Deservingly included in 1941 among the National Monuments of the Philippines this church has been recently renovated extensively and elegantly, on the occasion of the Fourth centennial of the Christianization of these islands.
Further, this church deserves a special honor, not only because lovers of art and historians find in it much to admire, but also and above all because it has been and is the main center of devotion for the Philippine Catholics who come from all the corners of the nation and to pray before the Santo Niño their so devoutly venerated and to ask for divine help, thus returning inconstant eagerness to that fountain whence they once drew and still may draw their life. To these people indeed apply the words of Saint Augustine in which he poured the fervid intensity of his soul full of love; “my heart as yet so tender drank with my mother’s milk and treasured ever after the name of my savior, Your Son.”
Now, in order to add still to the dignity of this eximious church, our venerable Brother Julio Rosales, Archbishop of Cebu, and Our Beloved Son Luciano Rubio, Superior General of the Order of Saint Augustine, have come to Us requesting that We grant to it the rank of Basilica. Graciously acceding to this request, after consulting with the Sacred Congregation of Rites, with full knowledge and sufficient deliberation, by virtue of Our Apostolic authority and by this brief, we believe this church dedicated to the Infant Jesus to the rank of BASILICA MINORE and grant to it all the rights and privileges accruing to such churches, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
This We proclaim, declaring this letter valid and to have full effect and to be binding on all who now or in the future may read it, so that this declaration stay and render anything to the contrary.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s under the Seal of the Fisherman, on the first day of April of this year of 1965, the second of Our Pontificate.
Secretary of State.