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Our Lady of Antipolo Receives Golden Rose from Pope Francis

by Margaux Salcedo

photos from Antipolo Cathedral Facebook page

Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery on Evangelization (First Section) was in the Philippines to officially preside for a thanksgiving mass for the Philippines' first international shrine, the Antipolo Cathedral, now the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The Thanksgiving Mass was held on February 26, 2024, Monday.

A highlight of the mass was the presentation by Archbishop Fisichella of a Golden Rose or Rosa d'Oro from no less than His Holiness Pope Francis. This was offered by Archbishop Fisichella himself at the foot of the image of the Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage).

Commissioned gift from the Pope himself, the Golden Rose is considered the highest honor given personally by the Pope to a Marian image and shrine across the world. These special roses, made of pure gold, are blessed by the Pope on Laetare Sunday or the 4th Sunday of Lent, putting incense into the censer, incensing the balsam and musk, and then putting the balsam and powdered musk into the tiny cup in the heart of the principal rose. The Pope then incenses the rose and sprinkles it with holy water. It is kept until it is granted by a pontiff to an image or shrine. This is a tradition that is said to date back to the Middle Ages.

In his homily, Archbishop Fisichella thanked Cardinal Jose Advincula, Archbishop Charles John Brown, and Bishop Ruperto Santos who invited him. As he honored Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, he reminded us that Mary always accompanies us. He also stressed that we are pilgrims of hope and that it is our responsibility not only to be heralds but builders of hope.

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