- June 20, 1619. The Parish of Sta. Cruz officially came into existence on June 20, 1619. Prior to this, Sta. Cruz was known as a village of the Parish of Quiapo and was under the province of Tondo.
Father Gregorio Catena, parish priest of Quiapo, signed a document under the authority of Archbishop Arce that paved the way for the spiritual administration of the Chinese tenants in Sta. Cruz by the Jesuits. It was the Jesuits who named the village Sta. Cruza, after the Holy Cross.
- 1743. The Confraternity of the Our Lady of the Pillar was canonically founded in Sta. Cruz. The statue of Our Lady of the Pillar, brought from Spain by the Spanish Jesuit administrators, was a replica of the image venerated in the city of Zaragosa. It was enshrined at and became the Patroness of the parish and the district of Sta. Cruz.
- June 3, 1863. A violent earthquake hit the City of Manila and destroyed Sta. Cruz Church. Fr. Agustin de Mendoza, parish priest, commenced the restructuring of the church in 1868. Don Juan Caballero, architect, presented a project proposal for the repair of the Church which was approved by the civil governor in November 1871.
- 1870-1898. The Recolletos took charge of Sta. Cruz Church. Fr. Exequiel Moreno, a Spanish Augustinian Recollect, was assigned as parish priest from February to September of 1881. He was beatified by Pope Paul VI on November 1, 1975 and on October 11, 1992, was canonized Saint by Pope John Paul II. (Note this was on the eve of the feast of the Our Lady of the Pillar)
- End of the 19th Century. Sta. Cruz was on the rise to become the center of the City of Manila. The Tagalog aristocracy, such as the Roces family, moved from Binondo to Sta. Cruz. The middle class of Sta. Cruz was turning intellectual. Some of the principal families of that time were the Mapuas, the Jocsons, the Torreses and the Paternos.
- Japanese Occupation. During the Japanese occupation, Fr. Lucio Garcai palced the image of the Our Lady of the Pillar in a vault at the Philippine National Bank to preserve it from the invaders and subsequent destruction during the liberation of Manila.
- 1945. After the liberation of Manila, Sta. Cruz district was considered the nation’s business capital. Bridges were opened. Plaza Goiti and its environs became known as “downtown”. To many Manilenos, Sta. Cruz became a second parish.
- August 15, 1957. The Blessed Sacrament Community officially began the administration of Sta. Cruz with Fr. Morin as the parish priest and superior of the initial community of six men.(Fr. Morin died on June 23, 1991. He was 84 years old when he died in Albuquerque, New Mexico.)
- 1961. Fr. George Laliberte started the plans for the present sanctuary. Architect Juan Nakpil and sons generously donated their services to remodel the sanctuary. This project was completed in 1970. The main altrar contains the relics of St. Peter Julain Eymard, the Blessed Sacrament Community’s founder who was canonized on December 9, 1962 at the start of the Second Vatican Council. Also the relics of St. Charles Lwanga, one of the 22 Ugandan martyrs canonized in 1964; all the official receipts of donations received for the renovation.
The niches on either side of the sanctuary are occupied by the statues of Our Lady of the Pillar and St. Peter Julian Eymard. The patronal feast of the Birhen del Pilar is October 12 and the parish fiesta procession is held on the third Sunday of October. St. Eymard is recognized as secondary patron since 1985. His feast is on August 2.
The mosaic adorning the dome of the new sanctuary was the brainchild of Fr. Gabriel Casal, OSB. He suggested the inscription of the apocalyptic lamb amidst the Filipino setting of mango, banana and flame trees. Mrs. Elizabeth Chan designed and executed this mosaic Byzantine and Venetian glass.
- December 18, 1984. When Fr. Conrad Goulet, SSS was parish priest, His Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, DD, issued a decree to clarify that the official name of this parish is STA. CRUZ, the name by which it was historically known according to old records as well as oral tradition. The document was also signed by Msgr. Josefino Ramirez who was the Vicar General and Chancellor. Previous to this decree, the name of the parish was Nuestra Senora del Pilar, after its patroness.
- June 1, 1989. His eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin installed Fr. Nory P. Vasquez, SSS, as parish priest of Sta. Cruz. He is recognized as the first Filipino Blessed Sacrament Religious to become parish priest of this parish.
- January 15, 1994. Fr. Mandy SJ Tipones , SSS, the second Filipino SSS to become parish priest of Sta. Cruz was installed by Bishop Teodoro Bacani, DD, the auxiliary bishop fo Manila.
- 5 January 2000. The Parish Pastoral Council of Sta. Cruz submitted a letter to Fr. Francisco Mendoza, SSS, who was then the parish priest, informing him that while Sta. Cruz Church was being called a shrine, there seems to be no official pronouncement that the Church is truly recognized as a shrine.
A move was initiated to investigate and eventually take the necessary steps towards the recognition of Sta. Cruz Church as a Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.
- 17 December 2006. Fr. Felix Elverio, SSS, as parish priest, took the initiative to ask the church authorities on the needed preparation for Sta. Cruz Church to become a shrine. Eventually, a permanent baptismal font was erected and the Solemn Dedication of the Church of Sta. Cruz was celebrated in a Eucharist presided by Bishop Bernardino Cortez, DD, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila.