Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish

OLA Parish Church, houses the Patroness of Marikina

Our Lady of the Abandoned, also known as Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, Marikina City, is a Roman Catholic church and the home of an image of the Virgin Mary venerated locally, which has received Papal recognition.There is also another parish in Manila.



Early years

The supervision of Catholic faith in Marikina started when the town was again ceded by the Augustinians from the Jesuits. On March 10, 1687, Governor Gabriel Cruz Elasque ordered the transfer of Marikina to the care of the Augustinians and merged with the ministry of San Mateo. He instructed Don Juan Pimentel, Alcalde de Tondo, to vacate and demolish the visita of Jesus de la Peña due to the turbulent Marikina River which floods the area during rainy season. The visita cannot accommodate the growing population of the community. This finally led the friars to cross the river to find a higher place for a bigger church which is now where the present church stands and subsequently made an independent parish in the year 1690.

The first image

On October 23, 1791 the church was consecrated by the Archdiocese of Manila for the Virgin's said title so that it may never be used for any secular purpose. In 1898, during the Philippine–American War the first image was burned together with the pertinent records on the devotion in Marikina. Last 1902, a new image was created which is presently venerated in the parish.

A miracle

The devotion became well known because of the miracles attributed to the image, among the notable miracles of Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados happened during World War II when the Japanese army bombarded the city. Apparently, a bomb fell near the bell tower of the church but did not explode. It would have destroyed the whole church from the combined Filipino and American soldiers during the liberation of Marikina on February, 1945 if this had happened. Parishioners attributed this miracle to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

The episcopal coronation

The intercession of the Virgin on the community's prayer was remarkable and was highligted by Her devotees when the image was honored with an Episcopal Coronation of the image last May 12, 2002 through a Decree promulgated by the then Bishop of Antipolo, Most Rev. Crisostomo A. Yalung, D.D..

The canonical coronation

By virtue of a Papal Bull granted by the Holy See through Pope Benedict XVI, the image was hailed with a solemn ceremony on Her Canonical Coronation last October 23, 2005. The Papal Bull granting the canonical coronation of the image was the first granted by Pope Benedict XVI in his papacy to a Marian image. Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, in the name of the pope, crowned the image with much pomp and pagentry that spelled the love of the people of Marikina to Our Lady of the Abandoned. On August 5 (Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome), the parish church of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina City was elevated into a Diocesan Shrine by the present Bishop of Antipolo, the Most Rev. Gabriel V. Reyes, D.D..

The current parish priest

The new Auxiliary Bishop of Antipolo, the Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D., was formally welcomed in the Diocese of Antipolo on September 8, 2007 at the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned. He is now serving as parish priest and Rector of the Shrine. On August 26, 2009, the local Ordinary of Antipolo designated Rev. Fr. Reynante U. Tolentino as the new Vice Rector of the Shrine and Administrator of the Parish, to assist Bishop Kiko in his duties.


Aside from Marikina, the title of Our Lady of the Abandoned is venerated as patroness in the following places in the Philippines: Santa Ana in Manila (the oldest church in the Philippines where Our Lady of the Abandoned is venerated), Muntinlupa City, Mandaluyong City, Valencia (Negros Oriental), and a small barrio in the Bicol region. Santa Ana (Manila) and Marikina City have the oldest traditions of venerating the image of Our Lady of the Abandoned in the country.

The devotion to Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina City has developed quite slowly because the feast of the patron saints of the different barrios in Marikina has been celebrated more joyously. It is an interesting fact that although the parish has had the Our Lady of the Abandoned as its patroness for more than two hundred years already, there has been little tradition of feasts attributed to this title. But in the past two decades, a bloossoming of devotion to this Marian title have ensued. Now, more people from Marikina have devotion to the Our Lady of the Abandoned and countless other devotees from different parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces have actually made pilgrimages to this Marian shrine.

Because of this reality, and the many accounts and testimonies attributed to the image, the petition for canonical coronation was sent to the Holy Father. The Papal Bull granting the said petition was received with great joy by the people. Elevating the parish church into a diocesan shrine in the Diocese of Antipolo also highlighted the deep devotion that has grown for Our Lady of the Abandoned. It has also been said that the image in Marikina is considered to be one of the most beautiful Marian image in the whole Philippines.

The feast of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Marikina was originally celebrated every second Sunday of May. But due to liturgical reforms and in consonance to the feast (of the first image of "Madre delos Desamparados") being celebrated in Valencia, Spain, the parish now celebrates her feast annually on May 12. Last May 2010, the celebration of the feast was moved again to its original date, which is every second Sunday of May.

Parish Priests

  • Most Rev. Francisco M. De Leon, D.D. > 2007-present
  • Rev. Msgr. Mariano T. Balbago Jr. (Ret.) > 2006-2007
  • Rev. Msgr. Arnel F. Lagarejos > 2000-2006
  • Rev. Msgr. Teodoro V. Perez (+) > 1992-2000
  • Rev. Fr. Generoso Mediarito > 1986-1992
  • Rev. Msgr. Jose B. Cruz > 1965-1986
  • Rev. Fr. Gerardo Maximo > 1963-1965
  • Rev. Fr. Florentino Fuentes > 1959-1963
  • Rev. Fr. Silvestre dela Cruz > 1956-1959
  • Rev. Fr. Hermando Godoy > 1954-1956
  • Rev. Fr. Gabino S. Baluyot > 1951
  • Rev. Fr. Conrado C. Arciaga > 1941-1951
  • Rev. Fr. Pedro Hilario > 1941
  • Rev. Fr. Pedro Hizon > 1941
  • Rev. Fr. Luis Mojica > 1932-1941
  • Rev. Fr. Jorge Capistrano > 1917-1932
  • Rev. Fr. Ricardo Pulido > 1905-1917
  • Rev. Fr. Vicente Estacio > 1904
  • Rev. Fr. Lorenzo Gregorio > 1904
  • Rev. Fr. Patricio Calderon > 1900-1903
  • Rev. Fr. Teodoro > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.
  • Rev. Fr. Aravello > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.
  • Rev. Fr. Jose Blas > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.
  • Rev. Fr. Rafael Umana > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.
  • Rev. Fr. Manuel Alberto > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.
  • Rev. Fr. Jose Ma.Zamora > 1860-1880
  • Rev. Fr. Craig > Records lost or destroyed during the revolution.

Shrine Rectors

  • 2009-present, Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D.
  • 2007–2009, Rev. Msgr. Mariano T. Balbago, Jr. (Ret.)


See also

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