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JADSpirits Travel Log

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Monasterio De Tarlac, Home of the Relic of the True Cross

It was in 2011 when I first heard from one of my colleagues who hailed from Bamban, Tarlac about a monastery in Tarlac that house “the relic of the true cross”. When I asked her about the exact location, she could not remember it. In one of our free weekends, we traveled to Capas, Tarlac thinking that we could ask around the area to the way to “the relic”. We tried to inquire several times from different group of people…some have no ideas…some heard about it…but none of them knows where.

November 06, 2011…Jonjie, Daniz and I found the way. We traversed through rice fields, crossed a one-way bridge, braved the winding road and finally found ourselves on top of the mountain at Brgy. Lubigan, San Jose, Tarlac. And the very first thing that we saw was the 30-foot statue of The Risen Christ facing the hills and fields of Tarlac and its neighboring communities.
In 2005, Rev. Fr. Ronald "Archie" Thomas A. Cortez was invited by the President of the Philippine-German Associate in Oberhausen, Germany, Mr. Lutz Ruhloff, be a guest for the world Youth Day in Cologne, Germany. During his visit, he met Msgr. Volker Bauer from the Diocese of Essen who was then the custodian of the Relic of the Holy Cross of Jesus. His search for the ideal and willing candidate to look after the relic was finally over. Fr. Archie who has a homegrown monastic community was chosen to bring home the relic and be its next custodian.

In 2006,  The confirmation of the coming of the relic of the Holy Cross was formally announced.  The existing chapel was elevated to be the reliquary house of the relic.  The construction started in November.  The chapel is patterned after Europe baroque type of architecture with its imposing fa├žade and surrounded by a sprawling piazza.  It is heavily embellished and design with baroque style trimmings, giving structure grandeur of medieval art and culture.
Picture5_dappled c30c100v50
In January 30, 2007, the much awaited inauguration and blessing of the Chapel took place, presided by the Most Rev. Fernando Filoni, D.D., - Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines together with Archbishops, Bishop and guest Priests. And among those Bishops in attendance were: Most Rev. Florentino F. Cinense, D.D., - Tarlac; Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, D.D. – Pampanga; Most Rev. Ernesto Salgado, D.D. – Nueva Segovia; Most Rev. Diosdado Talamayan, D.D. – Tuguegarao; Most Rev. Antoinette Cabajog, D.D. – Surigao; Most Rev. Sofronio Bancud, SSS, D.D. – Cabanatuan; Most Rev. Roberto Mallari, D.D. – Pampanga. The presence of Msgr. Volker Bauer, Rev. Fr. Joachim Kiwit, Rev. Fr. Alfred Voss and other German dignitaries and friends added more life and grace to the occasion.

The Relic was enclosed in a silver arquetta (ark) engraved with catholic symbols of crucifixion such as a pair of dice, the garment of Christ worn during his passion, a hammer with nails, and a ladder. The relic was enshrined beneath the altar. It was authenticated by a papal seal as proof that it is, indeed, the true cross of Jesus.
IMG_2950Atop the imposing altar is the inscription in Latin: AVE CRUX, SPES UNICA which means HAIL TO THE HOLY CROSS, OUR ONLY HOPE.Picture9
When the empress beheld the place where the Saviour suffered, she immediately ordered the idolatrous temple, which had been there erected, to be destroyed, and the very earth on which it stood to be removed. When the tomb, which had been so long concealed, was discovered, three crosses were seen buried near the Lord's sepulchre. All held it as certain that one of these crosses was that of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the other two were those of the thieves who were crucified with Him. Yet they could not discern to which of the three the Body of the Lord had been brought nigh, and which had received the outpouring of His precious Blood. But the wise and holy Macarius, the president of the city, resolved this question in the following manner. He caused a lady of rank, who had been long suffering from disease, to be touched by each of the crosses, with earnest prayer, and thus discerned the virtue residing in that of the Saviour. For the instant this cross was brought near the lady, it expelled the sore disease, and made her whole.

Since 2011, we have been to the Monasterio De Tarlac several times. Every visit is a special communion with God. But I will always remember our very first Holy Mass, our second visit last January 2012. The moment we entered the Chapel and until the conclusion of the Holy Mass, I felt the loving presence of the Lord embracing me, comforting me. Even before the officiating priest prayed for everyone before the final blessing…my eyes are welling with tears…tears of gratitude…of relief…as if a weight was suddenly lifted from my being. God is with me that day…I am at peace! “God speaks to me in silence.” And I truly believed that “We are not there because of coincidence. We are there because God called us…for a reason.”
Since that day, we wanted to share the blessing...for others to feel the loving presence of the Lord…for them to hear God speaking in silence. Every time we have a visitor from afar (Manila, Bicol, Cavite)…we always invited them to join us to attend the Holy Mass at the Monasterio. For first-timers, the best place is inside the Chapel…free from unnecessary and outwardly distractions. But it can only hold more or less a hundred pilgrims.
.Below are some of the photos of the place and of us…
The sight where the the 30-foot statue of The Risen Christ is facing with His arms wide open
The piazza (public square). 1st Picture: On the left is the entrance to the Chapel and on its left is a stair going to the Administration Building. 2nd Picture: The "Brother" is going back to the Chapel after assisting in the Holy Communion, at the back is one of the Priest giving communion to the Pilgrims facing the Administration Building
The Monasterio's Administration Building
 Picture26   Picture22
                                     November 06, 2011                                                           January 22, 2012
Picture23  Picture25
                                 January 05, 2014                                                               October 04, 2015
July 19, 2015. Daniz with Mommy Lydia and Tita Vicky

Pilgrims' Mass Schedule
Monday to Saturday at 10:30am except Thursday
 - Wednesday Mass is preceded by Novena to Perpetual Help
 - Friday Mass is in Honor of Sacred Heart Preceded by Chaplet to Divine Mercy
 - Saturday Mass is in Honor of Blessed Mother
Every Thursday is at 6:00am
Every Sunday at 10:30am and 3:00pm is Risen Christ's Day
The pilgrims are allowed to touch the reliquary after the mass.
Open veneration of the relic happens twice a year, every January 19 to commemorate its enshrinement and September 14 to celebrate the Servants of the Risen Christ anniversary.

Things To Do

Monasterio De Tarlac is considered as a sanctuary for spiritual nourishment in the Philippines nestled in the serenity and beauty of nature where one can really feel the warm embrace of God Almighty.
At present, the monastery only has 5 cottages that can accommodate a small number of faithful looking for spiritual retreat and solitude.
They wanted to provide better and more sufficient facilities for spiritual nourishment, hence the initial construction of the SRC Center for Spirituality located within the monastery. They also started the construction of a new basilica that will serve as a new home for the Relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ. However, due to the lack of financial means, the development of the said establishment has been put into an indefinite halt.

The SRC Monastic Community would like to make an appeal to please help them continue what they have started. Generous donation will certainly help them reach the completion of the center for the greater glory of God.

Excerpt from the Monasterio's Brochure 


How To Get There
From Manila, head north through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and enter the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). Continue to Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and take Victoria Exit. Follow the signs to Monasterio De Tarlac that are visible along the road.