Basilica of Our Lady of Piat
|Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat|
|Location||Piat, Cagayan, Philippines|
|Year consecrated||June 22, 1999 (as a Minor Basilica)|
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Minor Basilica|
|Heritage designation||"Shrine of the Black Virgin Mary Our Lady of Piat"|
The Basilica of Our Lady of Piat (Basilica Minore Nuestra Señora de Piat) is one of the twelve Minor Basilicas in the Philippines. It is located in the outskirts of Piat in the province of Cagayan. The shrine is dubbed as the Pilgrimage Center of the North, and a home to the 407-year-old Black Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Piat.
The history of Our Lady of Piat dates back in 1604 when a black image of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus on her left arm was brought to the Philippines from Macau by the Dominican friars. It was originally called the Nuestra Señora dela Santissimo Rosario (Our Lady of the Holy Rosary). A small sanctuary for the religious image was built in 1604 by the local Itawis. The image was brought to Lal-lo, Cagayan(then the Episcopal See of Nueva Segovia) to be known by the Cagayanos. The image was also brought to Piat, and Tuguegarao in 1622. During the visitation, it was replaced by a more beautiful image from Manila but the people demanded that the original image be returned to them so it was brought back to Piat and was enthroned in the small sanctuary.
During the feast of St. Stephen, December 26, 1623, the image of Our Lady was solemnly brought to the Ermita from Piat with the people following in devout procession. The people of Tuao did likewise marching in procession towards the Ermita to welcome Our Lady with great rejoicing and happiness. The following day the Ermita was blessed and a very solemn Mass was officiated by the deacon with an attendance of more than 10, 000 people ("pasaban de diez mil personas") who came from all the neighboring towns. The priest noted that, it was amazing that such a large multitude would have gathered there, considering that the area was no thickly populated, and that the work of evangelization had been going on for only 25 years. The lady started the first Christians of Cagayan. According to the same historian, Fr. Duarte, the crowd that attended the dedication of the new shrine of Our Lady of Piat was really impressive. Aduarte adds to this effect, by way of an explanation "...So the holy Image moved the natives ("indians") to love, esteem and revere her." An important woman from Piat (belonging to the "principalia." Or local aristocracy as indicated by the honorific title of Doña) Doña Ines Magui'abbun took upon herself the responsibility of looking after the Ermita and became the first camarera (caretaker of Our Lady). For this purpose, she decided to open up a new field ("sementera") and built a house near the shrine so she and her servants could visit the sacred place often. Besides, she place lamp there, that kept always burning before the venerated Image and became the first shrine of the Lady.
In the 1700s, the people built a more spacious church of more durable materials on a hill about a mile from the parish church of Sto. Domingo. The present sanctuary was built by Rev. Fr. Diego Pinero and later restored by Fr. Jose Gurumeta in 1875.
On June 22, 1999, the sanctuary was elevated as a Basilica Minore (Minor Basilica) recognized by the Vatican. It was the first basilica minore in the region and the fourth in the Philippines. The rites was officiated by the Vatican's representative, Antonio Maria Cardinal Javierre Ortas. A santacruzan was also sponsored by Department of Tourism in celebration of the Basilica. A week-long special prayers and services was also held in 29 parishes in the province, a Marian choral contest at the St. Paul University in Tuguegarao, medical mission, grand procession of all the images of patron saints and the Our Lady and a cultural show on the documented miracles of the Virgin of Piat.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Piat is located in the town of Piat, 41 kilometers (25 mi) northwest of Tuguegarao City or about 30 minutes by land transportation. This pilgrimage site attracts a large number of devotees especially from June 23 to June 39 when the Sambali Festival is celebrated and July 1 and 2 for the feast of Our Lady of Piat.
The first thing unique about the Basilica of Our Lady of Piat is the entrance arch. It is located at the back of the church and one has to go around from the entrance to see the church facade. On the arch is inscribed, Basilica Minore Nuestra Senora De Piat (Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Piat). The Basilica has a simple facade flanked to the left by a tall belfry. It is located on top of a hill to avoid flooding brought about by the seasonal overflowing of the Chico River. The church structure is mainly made of red bricks, which is noticeably common among churches in Cagayan Valley, in contrast to other old churches made of limestone and coral stone in other parts of the Philippines. The interiors has curved ceiling made of wood with historical images and accounts at the top of the walls. Enshrined at the altar is the Blessed Virgin Mary covered in a glass case. There are also verandahs inside the church which makes the shrine elegant. At the back of the church is a staircase that leads to a window located behind the case of the Virgin Mary wherein devotees can touch the dress of Our Lady.
Adjacent to the Basilica is the Piat Basilica Museum that holds several artifacts related to the Basilica or Our lady of Piat. Also surrounding the sanctuary are blessing sites for religious items, the parish convent and life-sized representations of the Stations of the Cross. Masses are offered everyday but thousands of devotees attend every Sunday.
- (2011-07-02). "Venerating Our Lady of Piat". Manila Bulettin. Retrieved on 2012-02-27.
- Henares, Ivan (2009-08-19). "Cagayan: Basilica of Our Lady of Piat in Piat, Cagayan". Retrieved on 2012-02-27.
- Caldez, Estanislao (1999-06-15). "From Sanctuary to Minor Basilica". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved on 2012-02-27.
- History of Our Lady of Piat Our Lady of Piat Basilica Official Website Retrieved February 27, 2012.[dead link]
- Vanzi, Sol Jose (1999). "Papal Church in Piat Cagayan Inaugurated in June". Philippine Headline News Online. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
- "The Our Lady of Piat Visitation". Philippine Trivias. Retrieved on 2012-02-27.
- (2010-02-05). "Lakbay Norte: The Lady of Piat". Lakbay Norte. Retrieved on 2012-02-27.