The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has endorsed the petition seeking the elevation and recognition of the National Shrine of Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo as International Shrine.
In a letter addressed to Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, CBCP President Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles noted how the National Shrine of Our Lady is considered a prime pilgrim Church in the country where many devotees experienced the Blessed Mother’s special presence.
“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,” he said in the letter dated July 26.
“Acting on the petition of the Most Rev. Francisco M. de Leon, D.D., Bishop of Antipolo, and upon the recommendation of the CBCP with a favorable vote of all the bishops during the 122nd Plenary Assembly last July 9, 2021, we humbly endorse the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipolo to be elevated and recognized as an International Shrine,” added Valles.
The Antipolo Cathedral, meantime, expressed hope that the petition will be approved by Pope Francis.
“Let us pray that this petition will be approved by the Holy See,” it said in a Facebook post.
“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,” read the post.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage (Antipolo Cathedral) in the province of Rizal, Philippines, is home to the 17th century image of the brown-skinned Madonna known to Filipinas and to pilgrims around the world as “Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje” that arrived in the country on July 18, 1626.
The image enshrined in this church was granted a Pontifical Coronation by the authority of His Holiness, Pope Pius XI on Nov. 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 Reverend Protacio G. Gungon, D.D. as first Bishop of Antipolo.