Immaculate Conception Parish Church (Santa Maria)

Coordinates: 14°49′10″N 120°57′48″E / 14.819513°N 120.963234°E / 14.819513; 120.963234
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Church of Santa Maria
La Basilica Menor de la Purísima Concepción
Church façade and bell tower in 2023
Church of Santa Maria is located in Bulacan
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria is located in Luzon
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria is located in Philippines
Church of Santa Maria
Church of Santa Maria
14°49′10″N 120°57′48″E / 14.819513°N 120.963234°E / 14.819513; 120.963234
LocationSanta Maria, Bulacan
Country Philippines
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusMinor Basilica
Founder(s)Francisco Javier and Tomás Marti
DedicationLa Purísima Concepción
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationNational Historical Landmark
Architectural typeChurch building
StyleBarn-style Baroque
Completedlate 1800s
Number of domes1
Materials Volcanic Tuff or Adobe
Episcopal areaEastern District
ParishSanta Maria
RectorAlberto R. Suatengco
Vicar(s)Menald D.S. Leonardo,
Philipp F. Volante

The Minor Basilica of La Purísima Concepción, locally known as Santa Maria Church (Spanish: La Basilica Menor de la Purísima Concepción) is a Roman Catholic Minor Basilica in Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines.

The shrine is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. The church is the seat of the Episcopal Vicar of the Eastern District of the Diocese of Malolos.

Pope Francis granted a Pontifical decree of coronation to the enshrined Marian image on 28 March 2019. He later raised the shrine to the status of Minor Basilica via decree on 21 March 2021. [1]

Early history[edit]

Church interior in 2022

Santa Maria Church was founded by Franciscan Friars as a visita by the priest Francisco Javier under the parish of Saint Martin of Tours in Bocaue. The materials was initially made of cogon and bamboo and later stronger materials. Then by 1792, Santa Maria de Pandi gained independence from its matrix and the construction of a bigger church commenced. The church was renamed Parroquia de la Purísima Concepción dedicated to the Virgin Mary.[2]

Pontifical coronation[edit]

The canonical coronation of the image of La Purisima Concepcion on 1 February 2020

The church is home to an image of the Virgin Mary that is believed to be miraculous. There are two local legends as to how the image arrived in Santa Maria: first is that it was brought to the town by the Franciscan Friars, second is that it was sculpted out of wood from a galleon. The image has been stolen in the 1930s and was retrieved in Nueva Ecija by a man named Teofilo Ramirez who claimed that the Virgin Mary appeared in his dream and gave instructions as to where the image can be found. The image was returned to the town on a February and the townsfolk accordingly adjusted their feast day to the first Thursday of February except when its falls on February 2 (the feast of the Our Lady of the Candles).[3] The image was first granted an episcopal coronation on March 3, 2018 by Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos.[4] On March 28, 2019, Pope Francis granted the canonical coronation of the image of La Purisima Concepcion.[5] The coronation took place on February 1, 2020.

Heritage designation[edit]

1939 marker

The facade of the church has a marker dated 1939 from the Philippines Historical Committee, now the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. The marker bears the name "Church of Pandi".[6] The nearby town of Pandi has its own church, dedicated also to the Immaculate Conception, and is located about 5 kilometers from the minor basilica in Santa Maria, Bulacan.[7]


  1. ^ "Pope Francis declares Bulacan's La Purisima Concepcion Church as minor basilica". CBCPNews. 2021-03-21. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  2. ^ Huerta, Felix de (1865). Estado geográfico, topográfico, estadístico, histórico-religioso (Geographical, topographical, statistical, historical and religious state). Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  3. ^ "La Inmaculada Concepcion". Local Government of Santa Maria. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Virgin of La Purisima Concepcion episcopally crowned". CBCPNews. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  5. ^ "Bulacan Marian image to be canonically crowned". Manila Bulletin News. Archived from the original on 2019-06-09. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  6. ^ "Church of Pandi | Registry". Retrieved 2024-03-31.
  7. ^ "Church of the Immaculate Conception 🇵🇭". GCatholic. Retrieved 2024-03-31.

External links[edit]