This morning, our Parish was dedicated as a Diocesan Shrine – with a rather kilometric official name:  Dambana ni Maria, Inang Mapag-Ampon ng Marikina, Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados.  The English name is shorter and easier to remember – Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned.  Come September 8, an Auxiliary Bishop will be installed, paving the way for the church to eventually become a Cathedral and the seat of the future Diocese of Marikina.In preparation for this, the church was spiffed up, but I must say that I didn’t quite like the results.  It is a Baroque church and they painted over the façade in white!  The interiors also went through a number of renovations/remodelings under a succession of Parish Priests.  There are now very few traces of its Baroque origins.  I’ll be posting photos soon.  I didn’t want to join the fray of photographers earlier so I’ll have to take pictures on another, quieter day.  I don’t know what happened to the Heritage Society of Marikina.  They did a good job with Kapitan Moy and the Shoe Museum, which are just across the church.  These two edifices retained their Spanish casa and Fort Santiago-esque look, and a well-preserved Baroque church would have completed the heritage block.  I don’t know whether they approached the Parish officials, or if their influence and efforts just weren’t enough.Temporal gripes aside, the elevation to a shrine – and a future cathedral – is a great blessing not only to our Parish, but to Marikina City in general.  More background about the Parish and its patroness in the coming days.  If you’re going on a pilgrimage, please include the new Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned on J.P. Rizal Street, Sta. Elena, Marikina City.