By Ferdinand Patinio

HONOR. National Museum of the Philippines Director General Jeremy Barns (left) and Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula unveil the marker declaring the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in United Nations Avenue, Paco, Manila as an important cultural property on Saturday (Jan. 27, 2024). The center was inaugurated on Aug. 26, 1964 by Cardinal Rufino Santos, the Archbishop of Manila from 1953 to 1973 and the first Filipino elevated to the rank of cardinal. (Photo courtesy of CBCP)

MANILA — The Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila was formally declared as an important cultural property (ICP) by the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) on Saturday.

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula and NMP director general Jeremy Barns led the unveiling of the ICP marker.

“Pope Pius XII Catholic Center is now an important cultural property of our country. Let us help one another in preserving and sustaining it,” Advincula said in a news article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines website.

The ceremony was witnessed by Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown and more than 80 bishops who are holding their 127th plenary assembly at the six-decade old venue.

The center, located along United Nations Avenue in Paco District, was inaugurated by Cardinal Rufino Santos on Aug. 26, 1964.

Santos was the 29th Archbishop of Manila from 1953 until his death in 1973 and was the first Filipino elevated to the rank of cardinal.

“As Pope Pius XII Catholic Center celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, we would like to pursue its original vision and even intensify its core purpose as an evangelization center,” Advincula added.

The Archdiocese of Manila intends to fully utilize its facilities and programs in the service of a synodal Church on a mission and for the promotion of the new evangelization, according to Advincula.

“We would like to invite everyone to join us in our dream to make Pius XII Catholic Center a home and a hub for synodality and solidarity, for walking together and growing in faith together,” he said.

An ICP is an establishment that holds “exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance to the Philippines.”

It may receive government funding for its protection, conservation and restoration. (With a report from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)