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Antipolo Cathedral to become international shrine on March 25

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, known as Antipolo Cathedral, is set to formally assume its new status as an international shrine on March 25, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The CBCP said the Antipolo Cathedral earlier received the Vatican decree elevating the church to the rank of international shrine.

“It’s official. We are now elevated into an international shrine. The decree has been sent to us by the Holy See and will be effective by March 25, 2023,” the CBCP, citing the cathedral, said.

“We are now in full anticipation of the solemn declaration of our international shrine in the coming months,” it added.

The declaration makes the Antipolo Cathedral the country’s first international shrine, the third in Asia, and the 11th worldwide.

The two other international shrines in Asia are the St. Thomas Church Malayattoor in India and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground and Seoul Pilgrimage Routes in South Korea.

Last June 2022, Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon said that the Vatican approved their petition to grant the shrine the said privilege.

According to the CBCP, March 25 also coincides with the day when the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage departed the Mexican town of Acapulco on board a galleon 397 years ago.

It said that the galleon was battered by storms and almost caught fire during the three-month voyage.

The CBCP said it arrived safely on the Philippine shore on June 18, 1626, hence, the title Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage was attributed to the image.

The Catholic Church has three kinds of shrines: diocesan shrines, approved by the local bishop; national shrines recognized by the bishops’ conference; and international shrines endorsed by the Vatican.

The Catholic News Agency said international shrines include historic locations such as Jerusalem and Rome, sites of approved Marian apparitions, such as Lourdes and Fatima, and places associated with saints, such as Assisi and Lisieux.—LDF, GMA Integrated News