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Antipolo Cathedral Now Declared as First ‘International Shrine’ in PH, Southeast Asia

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The Antipolo Cathedral, also known as the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage National Shrine, has been granted the status of Marian “International Shrine” by the Vatican, an elevation marked by a symbolic coronation and declaration ceremony conducted by Most Rev. Charles Brown, D.D., the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, Friday, January 26. 

Most Rev. Brown reflected on the historical significance of “Our Lady of Antipolo” both in the Philippines and within the Catholic Church. He highlighted the profound expression of popular piety among Filipinos, citing events like the ‘Simbang Gabi’ masses held in anticipation of Christmas, the ‘Traslacion’ of the Black Nazarene, and the Sinulog Festival of Sto. Nino, which draws millions of Catholic faithful.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/The Antipolo Cathedral

He also acknowledged the tradition of the ‘Alay-Lakad’ procession in Antipolo as a remarkable pilgrimage experience. He emphasized the importance of ‘synodality’, wherein over 85 bishops participated in witnessing the declaration, as a means to bring believers closer to the church. Furthermore, Brown stressed the significance of church leaders engaging with the simple and impoverished followers of the Catholic faith. 

The presence of Brown, representing Pope Francis’s leadership, underscores the unity between the local and universal Catholic communities and grants international recognition to the local celebration. The Latin Decree was announced by Most Rev. Francisco De Leon, D.D., Bishop Emeritus of Antipolo, with Rev. Msgr. Bernardo Patin, the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), who respectively recited the Latin and English versions of the Vatican decree.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/The Antipolo Cathedral

Among the attendees were First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, Rizal Governor Rebecca Ynares, Antipolo City Mayor Jun Ynares, along with other local government officials and hundreds of priests from the Diocese of Antipolo. In this momentous event, pilgrims, dignitaries, and clergy gather in Antipolo to observe the formal announcement of the 450-year-old cathedral, which houses the revered image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Madrigal Singers performed for this important ceremony.

During his sermon, Brown emphasized the significance of the Antipolo Cathedral’s recognition as an international shrine, its importance in showcasing the global nature of the Philippine Catholic Church. He specifically noted the Virgin of Antipolo’s significance to migrants who seek safety during their journeys.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/The Antipolo Cathedral

“You have been gifted to give and you’re giving that gift all over the world – and our Lady here in Antipolo is really the mother of that gift, because that gift is Jesus,” he said. 

In the meantime, Bishop Ruperto Santos of Antipolo conveyed his appreciation for the formal declaration of the international shrine, characterizing it as “the Philippine Church’s offering to the global community.” 

After this, Bishop Santos urged the clergy to transform the shrine into a symbol of love, charity, and compassion, emphasizing that this should be their central mission going forward, portraying it as Mary’s abode.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo: Facebook/ The Antipolo Cathedral

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