Antipolo Cathedral is the first international sanctuary of Ph

The facade of Antipolo Cathedral, taken on April 6, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – The National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Bon Voyage, also known as Antipolo Cathedral, is now the first international shrine in the Philippines, Bishop Francisco de Leon said Saturday.

De Leon made the announcement during the Mass celebrating the 39th anniversary of the creation of the Diocese of Antipolo.

“The ang ating or dambana shrine is the national shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Bon Voyage. And this national sanctuary has the privilege of becoming an international sanctuary. We received a letter from Rome which said on June 18, kikilalanin na ang ating national shrine as an international shrine. Bagamat hindi pa dumarating ang hard copy,” he said.

This makes the cathedral – which houses the image of a brown-skinned Mary – the third international shrine in Asia, the bishop noted.

The other two are St. Thomas Malayattoor Church in India and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground and Seoul pilgrimage routes in South Korea.

“We are the first international Marian shrine in Asia,” added De Leon.

In 2021, CBCP News, the news site of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, reported that the Diocese of Antipolo planned to ask the Vatican to declare the cathedral an “international sanctuary”.

“Being a center of the Catholic faith in the region would be an honor that will be claimed as a beacon for Filipinos across the world and those inspired by the cause of peace and safe travels attest their fervor in the faith to love of Christ and motherly care of the Blessed Mother,” the diocese said in a Facebook post.

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