Antipolo Cathedral to be named 'international shrine' this March
Historical sites in the Philippines continue to earn esteem all over the world, as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, more known as the Antipolo Cathedral, is now set to be declared an "international shrine."
According to a report published by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the cathedral will now have the status of an international shrine near the end of March.
"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 cathedral stated, adding that they are now preparing for the solemn declaration of the status.
But what does it exactly mean to become an international shrine?
According to the Code of Canon Law, a shrine is defined as "a church or other sacred place to which numerous members of the faithful make pilgrimage" as part of their religious or spiritual practice. The Catholic Church has three kinds of shrines, namely diocesan shrines, national shrines, and international shrines.
For the place to be considered a diocesan shrine, it must be recognized by the local bishop. National shrines are meanwhile endorsed by the conference of bishops while international shrines require the approval of the Holy See, the government of the Roman Catholic Church that is led by the pope as the bishop of Rome.
For the Antipolo Cathedral to be considered an international shrine is significant for the Philippines as there are only a few of them worldwide.
Records show that it will be the first one in the Philippines, the third one in Asia—after the St. Thomas Church Malayattoor in India and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground and Seoul Pilgrimage Routes in South Korea—and the 11th one worldwide.
According to the Catholic News Agency, other international shrines can be found in 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.
The Antipolo Cathedral was first declared a national shrine by the CBCP in 1954. It later became a diocese before it was designated as a cathedral in 1983.
It houses the 17th-century image of the brown-skinned Madonna known to devotees around the world as "Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje".