History of the Church

     Prominently situated in the heart of Manila at Plaza Figueras (formerly Plaza de la Nuestra Señora de Loreto) in Sampaloc District are two Catholic churches built adjacently in a single compound that projects a distinct character of being a twin churches though built with different structures.  The two churches namely, the Church of our Lady of Loreto and the Church of St. Anthony of Padua were elevated into shrines by His Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales D.D. in recent years and had been once under the same administration of the Franciscan Friars of San Gregorio Magno.
 
The Era of the Franciscan Friars of San Gregorio Magno
 
    
From the chronicles of Fr. Felix Huerta in his book "Estado Geografico,  Topografico, Estadistico, Historico, Religioso, de la Santa y Aposolica Provincia de San Gregorio Magno" written in 1865, the first church - the Church of Our Lady of Loreto was built with a convent on the site in 1613 through the collaboration of Fr. Blas de la Madre de Dios, then Provincial Father of the Franciscans housed at San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City, and the husband and wife team of the Master of Camp, Don Pedro de Chavez and Dona Ana de Vera.  The childless couple donated portion of their vast estate and financed the construction of both structures of which the convent was used as an alternate seminary for the young Franciscan Seminarians who later gave glory and splendor to the whole community.  On the same year the church was spiritually estranged from the Parish of Santa Ana de Sapa, or today, known as the Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Santa Ana, Manila.  And since then, the new parish had been known as "Parroquia de Sampaloc".
 
    Enshrined on its main altar on May 1, 1613 was a majestic unique image of the Nuestra Señora de Loreto o de los Milagros, a three and half feet high ivory image of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child on her left breast and standing on a cloud on top of the miniature facsimile of the chapel where the Holy House of the Mother of God has been preserved for more than eight centuries now in Loreto, Italy.
 
    The supervision of the church and the convent was left to the discretion of the Provincial Father of the Franciscans until 1616 when Fr. Agustin de Tordesillas was formally appointed as its parish priest.  He was one among the first fifteen Franciscans who arrived in Manila on June 27, 1578.  A year after, he was replaced by Fr. Francisco de Santa Maria who served the parish until 1621. 
 
    And on the same year, through the order of the visiting Commisary of the Franciscans, the seminarians were transferred back to their old sanctuary in San Francisco del Monte.
 
The Brief but Significant Embryonic Stage of the Congregation of Saint Claire of Assisi
 
    In 1621,  the convent became the embryonic haven for the group of nuns headed by Venerable Sor Geronima de la Asuncion or de la Fuente who was instructed by the King of Spain to establish the first congregation of nuns in the Philippines as an answer to the request of Don Pedro de Chavez.  But the unforeseen death of Don Pedro de Chavez four days after their arrival led to the transfer of the sisters to the convent of Our Lady of Loreto from his residence.
 
    Their arrival in the City of Manila on August 5, 1621 was a big event.  All routes leading to Intramuros were ordered closed and distinguished personalities were all invited for the occasion.  Captain General Don Alfonso Fajardo who with his troops dressed in their gala attire led the entourage along the path towards Intramuros.  They welcomed the nuns who arrived together with Bishop Juan de Renteria and 24 more Franciscan Friars.  Cheers and praises from the people who lined up on the route of the procession were heard and were interspersed with shots from the artilleries.
 
    The image of Our Lady of Loreto remains today as the lone witness to the first installation rite of nuns, the first ever in the history of the church in the Philippines and in the Asian region,  conducted to two novices of the congregation namely, Sor Juana de San Antonio and Sor Luisa de San Francisco on September 8, 1621, the feast of Our Lady's nativity.
     
    And on October 30, 1621, the sisters were moved to the two adjacent houses of Dona Ana de Vera in Intramuros for their permanent residence and later where the convent of the Immaculate Conception was built.
 
 
The Two Consecutive Reconstruction of the Church
 
    The sad fate of the church happened on a Friday night, the second day of the novenario to the Humble Virgin, on December 2, 1639  The mob of 22,000 Chinese, as if possessed by evil forces, desecrated and burned down the church including the churches of Quiapo, San Sebastian, Mayhaligue, San Francisco del Monte, San Juan and of those in Rizal Province.
 
    Father Dela Costa's account that was published in Madrid, Spain in 1642 gives a vivid description of the start of the revolt: "The Sangleys (Chinese-Filipinos) of pork seller's lane raised the standard of revolt.  They were joined by their neighbors the ink manufacturer, and amob forming, a kind of madness seized them, so that they begun to pull down and burn their own quarter, starting from the street of the armorers.  Soon the entire Parian was in flames, and in the livid glare of the conflagration the Sangleys ran screaming and yelling around the city."  The outbreak was recorded as the largest and the most violent revolts in the 17th century.
 
    In the following year, the church had been reconstructed under the direction of Fr. Andres de Puertollano, then Provincial Father of the Franciscans, who became its parish priest in  1632.
 
    Later in 1666, the church had undergone another reconstruction due to its deteriorating condition wrought by the massive and destructive earthquake that rocked Manila in 1645.  And to accommodate the growing population of the churchgoers on Sundays,  Fr. Francisco de Santa Catalina had the church enlarged.
 
 
The Appointment of the First Two Successive Filipino Parish Priests
 
    The church had the appointment of the first Filipino parish priest in 1674.  Fr. Luis de San Jose o Contreras who was born in Manila and was ordained priest on 6 June 1662 administered the church for the second time in 1989.  He died on April 1, 1699 in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
 
    Another Filipino priest, Fr. Alonzo Manuel Ramirez de la Fuente o de la Madre de Dios, replaced him in 1675.  Fr. Ramirez was a native of Laoag City under the Diocese of Nueva Segovia.  He was professed on June 1664.  He contracted a disease in 1684 while administering the church and went to Cagayan to recuperate but never recovered and ended his life there. 
 
The Miraculous and First Division of the Church
 
 
   
Within this period, too, the missionary activities of the Franciscans in Pandacan had begun.  Upon the order of Captain Chagoya, a decree has been issued on August 19, 1641 for the transfer of the Church and the Convent of Nuestra Senora de Monte Coeli and San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City in the area across and north of the island of Pandacan.
 
    
Hence a year after, the convent and the church was constructed and put the administration under the Franciscans from Sampaloc Church.  However, not too long enough, both structures were completely ruined by the massive and destructive earthquake in 1645.  
 
    The imminent growth of the population in Sampaloc especially in the area of Pandacan was so inevitable so that by the year 1698  the government declared it as a separate district from Sampaloc. 
 
 
    At the onset of the 18th century, a group of young boys found an image of the Santo Nino near the well south of the ruined church and convent.  Thinking that the story was just a pure invention of the boys and to dissipate the rumors of miraculous finding, the image was brought to the Church of Our Lady of Loreto.  But several weeks later, the image disappeared in Loreto Church and returned to the site where it originally had been found.  Thus, the devotion to the Child Jesus in the area begun.  Soon reports of miraculous healings from the water that was taken out in the well were recorded.  By 1712, the growing devotees of the Santo Nino had already built a church in His Honor.  And on May 15, 1712, the church had been separated from the Parish of Our Lady of Loreto and appointed Fr. Diego Villaba for its Parish Priest.
 
 The Imprenta de Nuestra Senora de Loreto
 
    The last years of the 17th century were remarkable period for the Convent of Our Lady of Loreto.  In 1692, the Franciscans acquired one of the earliest printing presses and installed it in the convent where it had been greatly utilized by the whole community.
 
    For over a century, the printing press provided its cultural and historical contributions to the development of the country.  The primer and manual of the Tagalog dialect published by the prnting press in 1740s and the Bicol Dictionary in 1790s had proven its worth to the Spanish Friars in promoting the Christian faith among the Filipinos.
 
    Another book which became the most sought after in the 18th century is the "Chronicas de la Apostolica Provincia de San Gregorio de Religiosos Descalzos de N. S. P. San Francisco en Las Islas Philipinas"  written by Fr. Francisco de San Antonio and published in the prnting press in 1739.  The Second Part was published in 1741 and the third Part in 1744.
 
    Copies of the books that were published in the printing press can now be found in the rare collections of some well known libraries in the world.
 
 Later in 1791, the administration of the printing press was transferred to the Venerable Orden de Tercera under the supervision of Fr. Joaquin Panalba and in 1808 it was sold to the Third Order. 
 
    Another publication of the printing press which had shaped the country's history was the weekly newspaper, "El Noticioso Filipino."  The initial publication was circularized on July 29, 1821.  The newspaper became the venue for demoralizing write-ups of the Spanish Friars against Filipinos and the object of ire of the Filipinos that heightened in the last period of the century.
  
The First School of Elementary Education
 
    Based from the writing of Fr. Felix de la Huerta, the church had the first school of elementary education in the district,  a precursor of schools and universities that earned for the district the title of university belt or the seat of educational system in the 20th century.
 
The Twinning of the Church Began
 
    
Because of the huge proceeds that the church received from the printing press and the collections on Sunday and daily Masses, the Franciscans transferred the seat of the Hospicio de San Pascual Bailon from their church in Plaza Dilao to the convent in 1783.  And later in 1794, they took in the Venerable Orden de Tercera (VOT) for the purpose of acquiring their own premises, a house and a church, repectively.  And before the year 1794 ended, the VOT was able to put up its own church adjacent to the Church of Our Lady of Loreto.  The newly built church was put under the protection of Nuestra Señora de la Peregrina whose feast fell on the third Sunday of Advent.  Based on the account of Fr. Huerta, about two thousand people attended the inaugural blessing of the church and the procession that was held on that day.
 
    On the other hand,  the Hospicio de San Pascual Bailon was able to put up their own house in Sta. Cruz, Laguna through the proceeds of the newly built church.
 
 1880 Catastrophic Destruction
 
    On July 1880, a devastating earthquake struck Manila, again, taking its toll on the two churches.  The Church of Nuestra Senora de la Peregrina was completely demolished by the strong tremor while the steeple of the Church of Our Lady of Loreto was hurled down to the ground.  Fr. Pedro A. Flores started the church's initial repairs, but it was not until 1888 that the construction was completed by Fr. Ramon Caviedas who also undertook the construction of a cemetery on the left side of the church.
 
    The Parish was still yet recovering from the rubble of the devastating earthquake when it was struck by another catastrophe, the cholera epidemic in 1882.  The death rate as it had increased day by day left no space in the newly built cemetery within the premises of the Church of Our Lady of Loreto.  Fr. Caviedas and some parishioners requested the government to allow the construction of an extension of the burial ground on a 15,000 square meters lot in Balic-Balic.  And on April 24, 1884, the "Ayuntamiento de Ciudad de Manila" granted favorably the petition of Fr. Caviedas who built a small chapel on the site.   In 1897, the supervision of the Meisic Cemetery more popularly known as "Camposanto de Sampaloc" was shared with the Parish of San Miguel under an agreement signed by the respective parish priests, Fr. Antonio Martin de Vidales of Loreto Church and Fr. Emili Gapo of San Miguel Church.  However both cemeteries were relocated in La Loma in 1913 upon the order of the Bureau of Health.
 
The Final Years of the Franciscans in Loreto Church
 
    Fr. Victoriano Condado and Fr. Antonio Martin de Vidales replaced in succession Fr. Ramon Caviedas in 1888 and 1894 respectively.  Then Fr. Pedro A. Flores was reassigned for his second stint in Loreto Church. 
 
    During this period, the heightened hatred of the Filipinos against the Spanish Government reached its peak and with the help of the American Forces the Filipino Revolution broke out.  The American soldiers built their camp on the Camposanto de Sampaloc which became the battleground for both forces.
 
    Because of the increasing threats of the war in Sampaloc area, Fr. Flores together with the other friars returned to their sanctuary at San Francisco del Monte, leaving the two churches in Sampaloc unattended.  In their absence, a diocesan priest assumed the responsibility of having the Holy Mass said at Loreto Church, a prelude to the end of the administration of the Franciscans at Loreto Church.
 
    For almost 300 years, the church was under the supervision of 109 Franciscan Friars whom some had shown their zealous dedication and great virtues, and are worthy of public emulation.  They are the venerable fathers:  Fr. Agustin de Tordesillas (1616), Fr. Francisco de la Cruz (1621), Fr. Andres de Puertollano (1628), Fr. Francisco de Solier o de San Jose (1653), Fr. Baltazar de Herrera o de Jesus (1653), Fr. Sebastian de Totanes (1721), Fr. Juan de la Cruz (1728), Fr. Juan de la Mata o de San Jose (1745) and Fr. Sebastian del Recuenco (1756).
 
  The Administration of the Diocesan Priests
 
    It was not long enough before the order of the Archbisop of Manila came on January 20, 1899 appointing Fr. Francisco Ortiz as temporary minister of Our Lady of Loreto.  And three days after, Fr. Lovero Buenaventura was designated as his co-adjutor, thus, ending the administration of the Franciscans in Loreto Church.  When the Franciscans returned at the onset of the 20th century, the administration of the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Peregrina was given back to them.
 
    Fr. Ortiz in the beginning of his administration re-opened the school which for sometime had been stopped because of the war, through the assistance of Dona Isabel Tuazon who financed the construction of the school building near the church.
  
The Second Division of the Parish
 
    In the meantime, the proximity of Santa Mesa area from Sampaloc and the closeness of Mrs. Fressel to the church had inspired her to put up in the area of Santa Mesa a small chapel which she placed under the protection of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and where a Jesuit Priest would be invited to say the Holy Mass on
days of worship.  A time came that even the institution of the Sacrament of Baptism was allowed by His Eminence, Most Rev. Msgr. Jeremiias Harty.  And on February 11, 1911, he elevated the chapel into a parish, giving the supervision of the church to the Capuchin Friars and dividing the Parroquia de Sampaloc.  But the division did not affect much the parish of Sampaloc because of the continuous influx of people from the provinces.
 
The Second Franciscan Connection
 
    By 1924, the Sampaloc Parochial School, now already had been transferred to the convent, had been expanded by Fr. Jose Dimbla who succeeded Fr. Ortiz in 1918.  And in May of the same year, Fr. Prudencio Aguinaldo was chosen as the next parish priest.
 
    During this period, the ties with the Franciscans were established again.  Because of the high number of enrollees in the school, Fr. Prudencio requested assistance from the nearby Franciscan Church and handed over the management of the school to the Franciscan Missionary of Mary with Rev. Mother Ivelda as its first directress.  And realizing the need for a bigger space, Fr. Aguinaldo built a building on the left side of the church to house the priests and the sextons. 
 
 Start of the Major Split up of the Parish
 
    In this epoch too, the dilapidated mortuary chapel of the Camposanto in Balic-Balic was requested by the Legarda Family to be opened on Sundays to accommodate the residents for the Sunday worship.  Each Sunday morning, Don Benito Legarda and Dona Trinidad Fernandez de Legarda whould woke up early to prepare for the Sunday Mass; Don Benito will fetch the priest from the Church of Our Lady of Loreto or the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Peregrina while Dona Trinidad will be left in front of the chapel to invite the residents for the Mass.  This became an ongoing activity for the couple until  in 1932 when the order of the the Archbishop of Manila, Most Rev. Michael O'Doherty was handed over separating the chapel from Parroqua de Sampaloc,  the third divison of the parochial jurisdiction.  Fr. Jose Pamintuan became its parish priest.
   
    In July 1933, Fr. Pamintuan was transferred to Loreto Church, relieving Fr. Aguinaldo from the administration of the church and school.  Two years after, the school obtained the approval for the General Secondary Course and transferred the school except the elementary grades in a new building located at Legarda Street and was renamed Our Lady of Loreto Academy.  For the second time in 1936, the school was renamed Our Lady of Loreto College after it received the approval for collegiate courses.
 
    In 1935, the HIstorical Research and Markers Committee of National Historical Commission of the Philippines unveiled the marker which they placed at the right side of the church facade as one of the historical churches in Manila.
 
  The church experienced another division from its jurisdiction on March 21, 1942.  This time the chapel being used by the Dominicans in the campus of the University of Santo Tomas was elevated by the Archbishop of Manila into a parish under the protection of the Patroness of the school, the Santissimo Rosario de la Universidad de Santo Tomas.
 
The Destructive War with the Japanese
 
    When the battle for the liberation of Manila from the administration of the Japanese Government erupted on the night of February 11, 1945 (feast of Our Lady of Lourdes) , the Japanese soldiers on the brink of defeat started shelling the American forces in UST.  But the incendiary bombs landed on different directions causing the biggest and worst conflagration in the city.  Almost all the historical churches in Intramuros were destroyed by the catastrophe, including the two Franciscan Churches (Loreto and Peregrina) in Sampaloc except the convent housing the priests and the sextons.  Fortunately,  the two venerated images of the Blessed Virgin in Sampaloc were saved through the efforts of Fr. Pamintuan.  The convent , for the meantime, served as the temporary chapel for the two Marian images.
 
    On the day after the fire broke out, the image of Our Lady of Loreto were brought out at the requests of the parishioners and allowed to view the conflagration going on at the church patio.  Coupled with the prayers of the parishioners, the fire in Sampaloc area was contained and miraculously saved the whole district from further destruction.  Because of this phenomena and the other fire that the image had survived, the people of Sampaloc reserved the Sunday after Easter for the Patronal Feast of Our Lady of Loreto as their Protectress against Fire, who had, so many times, manifested herself as such whenever she was einvoked.
 
    Fr. Pamintuan was motivated to seek the approval for the reprinting of the novena to Our Lady of Loreto composed by Fr. Joaquin de Coria, parish priest of Sampaloc in 1856, and had it translated in the Tagalog vernacular which both received the approval for public use on Septermber 8, 1945.
 
    However, Fr. Pamintuan never realized his dream of rebuilding the church because he was hit by an army truck while crossing M. Earnshaw St. on October 5, 1945, causing his untimely death.
 
    Fr. Augusto Ignacio succeeded him and in his incumbency, the church was reconstructed with bamboo and canvas that in 1948 was replaced by wooden materials.
 
Aviator's Day Celebration
 
    On December 15, 1951, the church began the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Loreto as Patroness of Aviation, which was proclaimed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XV on the eve of the feast of the Annunciation in Loreto, Italy in 1921.  The event was celebrated on Sunday prior the town fiesta and became a tradition in Sampaloc where various representatives from the different schools, universities and colleges had participated including those from the Philippine Air Force.  The occasion became even more colorful when the Philipppine Air Force started the tradition of showering the image of Our Lady of Loreto with flowers from a helicopter.  Along the way, the procession will be stopped intermittently at the designated places where families offered floral brooch to the Virgin.
 
1954 Marian Year
 
    When Pope Pius XII proclaimed a year dedicated to the Mother of God in 1954 in view of the 100th year anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the church of our Lady of Loreto was among those chosen by His Eminence, Most Rev. Rufino J. Cardinal Santos, D.D. as ilgrim center of the celebration on December 5, 1954.  The image of Our Lady of Loreto joined the more than 50 images of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the grand Marian procession that was held at 4:00 pm at the Luneta Grandstand.
 
 The Dream Church
 
    
On September 5, 1955, Fr. Ignacio was transferred to Pasay City and was replaced by Msgr. Jesus S. Tison who spearheaded the reconstruction of the "Dream Church."
  
   After the fiesta celebration on December 1956, the provisional wooden church was demolished to pave the way for the reconstruction of a new and enlarged building that was completed in mid 1958.
 
    Msgr. Tison recalled that every single cent that was used in the construction of the church came from parishioners of which they could call the church as their own.
 
    
The newly-built church was rededicated to Our Lady of Loreto on November 22, 1958 by His Eminence, Rufino J. Cardinal Santos D.D. who in his messsage said:  "On this highly recommendable occasion of the new church of Loreto's solemn blessing and dedication, we wish to convey our warmest greetings and congratulations to all those who, in one way or another, have succeeded in rebuilding this historical edifice, in order that it may continue to tend to the religious, social and moral upliftment of its constituency."
 
     The erection of the church in this year was very significant because it was on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes that the church was destroyed in 1945 and in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes was it also rededicated to the Mother of God.
 
    Under the administration of Msgr. Tison who became the first Vicar Forane of the Vicariate of Our Lady of Loreto in 1955, the church underwent some refurbishing and the construction of various projects including the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes and the installation of the monument of Our Lady of Loreto done in bronze by the famous scultpor, Mr. Ed Castrillo in 1975.
 
 
 
 The Nth Division
 
    During his term, the parochial jurisdiction of the church had been slashed once more, this being the fifth division.  The Church of the Agustinian Recollect  under the patronage of San Sebastian which has been under the jurisdiction of Loreto Church since December 10, 1824, was elevated into a parish by His Eminence, Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, D.D. on August 13, 1975.
 
    A month later, after becoming a co-adjutor for sometime to Msgr. Tison, Msgr. Marcelino A. Montemayor succeeded him as the new Head Pastor of the Church on September 30, 1975.  Among the innovations that he undertook during his administration were the construction of the Multi-Purpose Hall at the back of the Mortuary Chapel in 1976, the construction of a two-storey wooden building at the right innermost side of the church housing the Adoration Chapel and the Pastorelli Sisters, and the replacing of the windows at the main altar with stained glass depicting the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Through his initiative, a new facade for the convent was put up with an over-sized image of Christ the King.
 

    And on August 22, 1987, the sixth division of the parish happened.  The San Roque Chapel along M. de la Fuente St. was elevated into a parish by His Eminence, Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, D.D. and was separated from the parish together with Loreto St. where the Virgin was said to have miraculously intervene when a big fire broke out in the area. 

When Msgr. Montemayor was assigned to San Miguel Parish on May 1989, Msgr. Arsenio R. Bautista who came from Saint Joseph Parish in Project 4, Quezon City, took over the supervision of the church.
 
    In the early years of his administratioin, he already made some innovations in the church; the floors and walls of the church were changed into marbles and the side glass windows with stained glass representing the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary.  He also commissioned the restoration of the paintings of the 14 Stations of the Cross. 
 
     Msgr. Bautista did not only renovate the existing Mortuary Chapel but also supervised the construction of the another one, the Resurrection Chapel beside the old one.  And with the help of Drs. Raymundo and Josefina Macaraeg, a new adoration chapel was built in his time.
 
    He also undertook the construction of the Pope John Paul II Ladies Dormitory adjacent to the Multi-Purpose Hall and revived the Our Lady of Loreto School giving the supervision of the school to Ms. Julie Laraya.  Msgr. Bautista was transferred to the Basilica of the Immaculate Cionception in Tayuman after the fiesta celebration of 1993
 
    Msgr. Augusto G. Laban was installed as the next parish priest on January 1994 and continued the job that Msgr. Bautista had left.  On December 29, 1998, the construction of the convent was completed  and was inaugurated by His Eminence,, Jaime L. Cardinal Sin D.D.  Msgr. Laban initiated the procession of Our Lady of Solitude on the night of  Good Friday.
 
    While Msgr. Laban was being installed as the new parish priest, his jurisdiction was also being slashed to pave the way for the erection of the Nuestra Señora de Salvacion Chapel along Hipodromo St. into a regular parish.  The inauguration and blessing of the new parish was held on January 10, 1994.
 
    Durng his term the operation of the school was discontinued and the building was turned over to Caritas Manila to be used as an extension of the Ladies Dormitory.
 
    On June 15, 2000, Msgr. Ceferino M. Sanchez took over the pastorship from Msgr. Laban.  His major contribution to the church was the construction of the Cardinal Sin's Welcome Home for the Retired Priests that inaugurated and blessed by His Excellency, Most Rev. Antonio Franco, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines,  on August 25, 2002.
 
    Msgr. Sanchez' thrusts are geared towards the renovation of the church.  Upon his assumption, he improved the appearance of the main altar and the two side altars, gold lifting the chandeliers and the tips of the side pillars of the church.  He commissioned the installation of the iron grills and the window panes in the fourth floor of the Parish Rectory and provided a separate room for the devotions.  He changed the window pane at the choir loft with a stained glass picture of the Immaculate Conception and mounted an image of the Holy Family on the Parish Rectory and the image of the Resurrection at the church facade.  He also caused the demolition of the Tridentine tabernacle of the church and its stransfer at the right side altar of the church.
 
    Under his administration, the Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Most Rev. Socrated Cardinal Rosales, D.D. rededicated the church on January 5, 2002.  His Eminence, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, D.D. elevated it as well into an Archdiocesan Shrine on December 5, 2005, coinciding with the inauguration and blessing of the Museo de la Nuestra Senora de Loreto.
 
    At the same period, the Cofradia de la Nuestra Senora de Loreto had been founded.  Since its establishment, the members of the Cofradia undertook some projects related to furthering the devotion to Our Lady of Loreto; the transferring of the image to the different barangays under the parish and the Marian Exhibits held at the Museo.  The Cofradia was tasked also to work on the Canonical Coronation of the image of Our Lady of Loreto.
 
Homecoming of the Sto. Nino de Pandacan 
 
 

    During the 395th fiesta celebration of Our lady of Loreto, the original image of the  Santo Nino de Pandacan made a joyful homecoming to the Parish  when the image was brought in a procession  by the parishioners of Pandacan to join  the annual town procession of the Parish of Sampaloc that was  held at 4:30pm on December 13, 2008.  The event was made possible through the joint  efforts of Mr. Manny Joson, Head of the Tri-Centennial Celebration Committee of the Santo Nino de Pandacan and Mr. Rolly Bucay, Coordinator and Head of the Education Committee of the Cofradia de la Nuestra Senora de Loreto.  The image was welcomed at the church patio by the Arellano Lyre Band interspersed with the pealing of the church bells and was received by Msgr. Ceferino Sanchez.

     This was followed by another event when the replica image of the Christ Child joined the Sto. Nino Exhibit sponsored by the Cofradia  at the Museo de la Nuestra Senora de Loreto from 17 until the 24 of January  2009.  The replica image participated in  the procession of Santo Nino held on the 25 of the same month.

    And finally, on February 21, 2009, the same replica image was donated to the Parish by the Tri-Centennial Celebration  Committee of Pandacan and was installed at the niche of the right side altar of the church in the presence of the parishioners of both parishes.  Prior to the installation, Msgr. Sanchez reminisced how the Santo Nino de Pandacan was brought to the church in earlier part of the seventeenth century and how the image miraculously disappeared at the church.  While on the other hand, Fr. Larry Abaco, parish priest of Pandacan, requested for the start of the Santo Nino devotion in the parish.