Baclaran Day



The Redemptorist Church in Baclaran is one of the most popular religious shrines in the Philippines. Every Wednesday, a great number of devotees flock the National Shrine Our Mother of Perpetual Help to make a novena to the miraculous Byzantine icon whose replica is mounted on the high altar.


However, this phenomenon is not as old as the devotion to the Black Nazarene in Quiapo which dates back centuries ago. In fact, the popularity of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help as an object of devotion in the country only began some 60 years ago.



The Beginnings of the Baclaran Phenomenon



In 1906, the Redepmtorist fathers brought the replica of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in the Philippines. But its popularity did not launch the way the Perpetual Novena did when it was introduced in 1948.


Contrary to popular belief, the Perpetual Novena did not start in Baclaran but in Iloilo at the Redemptorist Church of San Clemente. After witnessing the devotion of the Ilonggos to the Perpetual Novena, Father Gerard O’Donnell introduced the Novena to Baclaran. It was Father Leo English who conducted the first Baclaran Novena on June 23, 1948 with only 70 participants.  



But it is not later that the small wooden Redemptorist church that dates back in 1932 had to be replaced (enlarged) to accommodate the growing number of devotees. The present church building of Modern Romanesque style is the third to be built on the same site. In December 1952, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help has been constructed. It has become one of the largest churches in the Philippines and the Our Mother of Perpetual Help to be among the most venerated Marian images in the country.   



To accommodate the growing number of devotees, the Wednesday Perpetual Help Novena has been observed in most Catholic churches all over the country. But for Our Mother of Perpetual Help devotee, nothing can be more sacred than a Wednesday pilgrimage to Baclaran.



Baclaran Day


Unlike with the Señor Nazareno which explains the main draw to Quiapo Church on a Friday (as in remembrance of the Lord’s sufferings on Good Friday), there is no historical definitive answer why Wednesday has been identified as Baclaran Day.  



During the pre-war years, the practice was to have a devotion to Saint Joseph on Wednesday. The same devotion was given to San Antonio de Padua on Tuesday, Our Lady of Lourdes on Saturdays and so on. Perhaps it is because June 23, 1948, the day when the first Baclaran Novena was conducted fell on a Wednesday and the tradition continues to this day. Nevertheless, the crowd drawer in Baclaran is the Our Lady of Perpetual Help who is believed to have granted the prayers of those who have been devoted to the Perpetual Novena. 



Father Luis Hechanova explains that a novena is a series of prayers said over nine days or nine weeks consecutively, usually in preparation for a major feast or to ask for a special favor. The ordinary novena stops after the nine occasions until it resumed the next time a around, often the following year when connected with feasts, or whenever a devotee decides to resume it privately.


A perpetual novena on the other hand, is a series of nine occasions of prayer but repeated continuously. When one series is finished, it begins again. In practice it becomes an unending series of weekly sessions, usually associated with a particular day of the week, not necessarily Wednesday.




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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Laudetur Jesus Christus

    Hi, I need the old (1950’s) Traditional Novena of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I don’t want the new one because I am a traditional Catholic attending the Pre-1955 “The Traditional Latin Mass of the
    Roman Rite.” Our Church will begin to do this Novena every Wednesday after the 8:00 AM Mass. I hope you can help me find one.
    Can you send it to my email address. I will appreciate it. Thank you and God bless you.

  2. i believed in baclaran church, kahit gabi na ako mag out sa work ko. pupunta parin ako dito…

  3. hi ang ganda talaga ng baclaran church, masaya ako pag nakapunta ako dito sa baclaran church every wednesday and sunday, kahit ako lang mag isa, sna po makamit ko lahat ng pangarap ko sa buhay, enaalay ko lage sa pangenoon ang lahat ng pangangailangan ko… god bless…

  4. lagyan po ng picture na mas close up.

  5. The Baclaran Phenomenon is, first and foremost, the incredible number of people who come to the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran every Wednesday to make the Perpetual Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help. It is estimated that at least 100,000 devotees come on regular Wednesdays, reaching about 120,000 on the First Wednesday of each month. The biggest turnout of the year is on Ash Wednesday. The crowd for that day simply defies estimate.

  6. Durante diez semanas estuve trabajando en Manila, especificamente en el One E-Com Center Building, en la empresa ACS Inc. Philippines. Alojaba en el Heritage Hotal, a sólo algunas cuadras de este Hermoso Templo. La Virgen y sus miles de devotos fueron mi sustento y apoyo durante ese tiempo alejado de mi familia, mis costumbres y clima. Siempre lo recordaré con mucho cariño.

  7. 30 years ago i used to leave closed to this church. I missed the beuty of this church 1964 i used to cook letson and get pay 40 cents when i am done cooking. So many things happen to me in this church i can imagine i will be in va usa. thank to god i was given a bless and i will never forget you my old church. love u.

    • I admire the love you have for Baclaran church jorge.

  8. hi,did any og you know dean congson,cromwel congosn,manuel caberos,guly,and his bro wilson from sabang bao,they are my good friends,i am still tracing their adress but its long time since a left philippines,1996.

  9. hi! I’m glad someone like you take time and effort giving info about our country. I have a request can u pls upload the baclaran novena? pls do the needful…….thanks

  10. can u upload the novena and mass so we can attend atleast here in internet coz in canada no novena schedule…please thank you

  11. yes Iloilo on foot. Keep it up! Let’s promote the best and the beautiful in our country.

  12. nice blog… our blogs sound so much alike. hahaha. keep up the good work.:)

  13. Inside the church is peaceful tutubi. Just dont go to Baclaran on Wednesday.

  14. Yahooooo Sidney! Welcome back!

  15. honestly, i’ve never been to that church, only see from a distance, admiring its romanesque style

  16. Glad to be back… took me some time, e.
    You are truly amazing… you do a lot of research for all your posts… very informative.

  17. Thank you for dropping by Palma.

    I believe in miracles and answered prayers.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  18. hi there!

    i discovered your site while i was trying to find more infor about CUBAO X. i go to baclaran every tuesday night as a sort of devotion since i live nearby. (i used to go on wednesdays but i find there are simply too many people on that day) i never knew (well, i sort of figured it out too) that the devotional practice of adoring the our lady of perpetual help was not even a century old.

    pretty interesting tidbits you have here. am now a “bookmarker” of your site.

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