As a parish
When the whole Visayan Islands were still under the Diocese of Cebu, Jaro was already a parish supervised by the Augustinians Friars. In 1865 the Agustinian Friars gave the parish to the diocesan clergy in exchange of the San Jose Placer as the former was chosen as the seat of the new Diocese of Jaro. Thus it became a Cathedral Church but retained its status as the Parish of Our Lady of Candles.
As a Parish it is comprised of _ barangays in the districts of Jaro and Mandurriao. It has a population of _, _ are catholics.
As a cathedral
Beginning 1865, the Church of the Parish of our Lady of Candles came to be known also as the seat of the Diocese of Jaro, the Church of the bishop of Jaro housing his cathedra, and the primary Church of the Diocese. Since St. Elizabeth of Hungary was named as the patroness of the new diocese, this church came to be known also as the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Cathedral. With its elevation to an Archdiocese in 1951 it came to be known as the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Metropolitan Cathedral.
As a cathedral it is comprised of: Two civil provinces namely, Iloilo and Guimaras; it is comprised of _ parishes and _ chaplaincies in _ towns and two cities (Iloilo City and Passi City). It has a population of _ people _ are Catholics. It is manned by _ diocesan priests, _ religious priest and _ women religious.
As a national shrine
But this is a place that cannot be owned solely by the parishioners of Jaro or members of an archdiocese. After all she who presides here is patroness of Western Visayas and is venerated by many from all over the Philippines. This is her shrine, the home of the Candelaria, called by many as Mother.
Decree of Formal Recognition as a Archdiocesan Shrine
Of the many images of Mary this synod proposes special honor and reverence to the image of Our Lady of Candles. Here she presents to us Christ the Lord, The Light of the World, further symbolized by the lighted candle she is holding – an anticipation of that time when, through the cross, we will reach the light that knows no setting. In this image she is significantly presented to us as the odigitria of the early church, as one who shows us the way. (Theological Overview, Acts and Decrees of the Third Synod of Jaro)
On February 21, 1981, the image of Our Lady of Candles, venerated not just by the people of Jaro but also by the people of Western Visayas and beyond, was canonically crowned by the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, the only image of Our Lady in the Philippines to be canonically crowned by the pope himself. This was occasioned by his visit to Jaro where he spoke of the role of the lay people in the mission of the church.
The year after, on April 21, 1982, the same Servant of God, named Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, Patroness of Western Visayas. Both canonical coronation and being named Patroness are official recognitions of what has already been a fact in the spiritual life not just of the people of Panay but also of the whole Western Visayas, and those who trace their roots to this locale. The yearly pilgrimage to her shrine in February and the daily devotions of the people coming from afar bringing with them testimonies of divine interventions and spiritual graces, attest to the reality that she is indeed Mother to the people of Western Visayas.
Now, therefore, on the occasion of its re-dedication,
I hereby decree, declare and proclaim the Metropolitan Cathedral of Jaro which is at the same time the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, Jaro, Iloilo City, where her venerable image is enshrined and venerated, as a Diocesan Shrine, in accordance with Church Law, with all the duties, rights and privileges given to a Diocesan Shrine by the Code of Canon Law, as well as other Church Documents particularly the Directory of Popular Devotions and the Liturgy
Given in this Church of Our Lady of Candles on the Solemnity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 17 of November 2010,
ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro