by Joel V. Ocampo
Recently, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antipolo through the petition of Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D., the Bishop of Antipolo, and the Shrine Rector, Rev. Fr. Reynante U. Tolentino, recommends the National Shrine of Lady of Peace and Good Voyage to become the first International Shrine in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
In a letter dated July 26, 2021, and addressed to H.E. Most. Rev. Salvatore Fisichella, D.D., President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the Diocese of Antipolo mentioned about the significant role of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in the spiritual formation and growth, not only of the Catholic community in the Province of Rizal, Philippines but also the Catholic faithful, the pilgrims from different parts of the world.
In a post from the official Facebook page of the Birhen ng Antipolo - Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, officials of the Diocese of Antipolo stated, “By being a center of the Catholic faith in the region, this would be an honor that will be claimed as a beacon for Filipinos across the world as the Catholic identity of Filipinos and those inspired by the cause of peace and good voyage attest their fervor in the faith to the love of Christ and to the maternal care of the Blessed Mother.”
Photo from Antipolo Cathedral website
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Cathedral) in the Province of Rizal, Philippines, is the home to the 17th century image of the brown-skinned Madonna known to Filipinos and to pilgrims around the world as “Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje” that arrived in the Philippines on July 18, 1626.
The image enshrined in the Antipolo Cathedral was granted a Pontifical Coronation by the authority of His Holiness, Pope Pius XI on November 28, 1926. Its church was granted the status of a national shrine by the Bishops of the Philippines on January 14, 1954, making it the first national shrine in the country and in Southeast Asia. It was further given the honor of becoming the Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antipolo on June 25, 1983 with the canonical installation of Most Rev. Protacio G. Gungon, D.D. as the first Bishop of Antipolo.
REASON FOR THE PETITION
The said letter also states, “It is undeniable that the National Shrine of Our Lady is considered a prime pilgrim Church of the Philippines because of the countless devotees and pilgrims who have come and experienced the special presence of the Blessed Mother in their life through the pastoral care of pilgrims in this Shrine.”
“Acting on the petition of the Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D., the Bishop of Antipolo, and upon the recommendation of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines with a favorable vote of all the bishops during the 122nd Plenary Assembly last July 9, 2021, we humbly endorse the National Shrine of Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipolo to be elevated and recognized as an International Shrine.”
This is the second of the three steps for the approval of a shrine to be granted the status of an international shrine. Let us pray for the approval of this petition as it is submitted to the Holy See.