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Antipolo Church, The First Marian International Shrine in Asia

by Joel V. Ocampo


In his homily at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, during the Eucharistic celebration for the 39th founding anniversary of the Diocese of Antipolo on June 25, 2022, H.E. Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D., the Bishop of Antipolo announced that the Vatican has declared the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City as an “international shrine”.


Photo from Birhen ng Antipolo - Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage


According to Bishop de Leon, they received a letter from Rome saying that on June 18, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was recognized as an international shrine. However, the diocese has yet to receive a copy of the official declaration.


This is the Vatican’s response 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. In this petition letter, 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. Thus, Bishop de Leon and the Shrine Rector, Rev. Fr. Reynante U. Tolentino, recommended the National Shrine of Lady of Peace and Good Voyage to become the first International Shrine in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.


The said petition 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.”


During his homily, Bishop de Leon also shared that the Antipolo Shrine will become the 11th international shrine, and the 3rd in Asia, next to the St. Thomas Church Malayattoor in India, and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground in South Korea. However, Antipolo Shrine is the first Marian international shrine in Asia, and the sixth in the world.


A Center of the Catholic Faith

Last year, the official Facebook page of the Birhen ng Antipolo - Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage posted this, “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 Birhen ng Antipolo - Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage


History

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.

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