New Antipolo int’l shrine presented in Vatican meeting

New Antipolo int’l shrine presented in Vatican meeting

Pope Francis addresses the shrine rectors and workers as Antipolo International Shrine Rector Fr. Reynante Tolentino (left) listens in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Nov. 11, 2023. VATICAN MEDIA

By CBCP News

November 14, 2023

Rome, Italy

The newly declared international shrine in Antipolo City was among those discussed at the recent Vatican meeting of rectors and shrine workers.

Its Rector, Fr. Reynante Tolentino, shared how the pilgrimage site has become “a beacon of hope and a house of prayer” for millions of Filipinos for the past four centuries.

“It is a testament to the enduring faith and unwavering devotion of the Filipino Catholics… by bringing their faith and devotion to different communities across the globe,” Tolentino said.

As the home to the revered image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the shrine, according to him, has witnessed countless pilgrims seeking the intercession of the Blessed Mother.

“Devotees from all walks of life— from Overseas Filipino Workers to immigrants, vehicle owners, air travelers, and seafarers — come to the Shrine to implore the Motherly aid of Our Lady for safe travel,” Tolentino said.

“Their prayers echo through the walls of the shrine, resonating with the longing for divine protection and peace in their lives,” he said.

Tolentino, who is also the president of the Association of Catholic Shrines and Pilgrimages of the Philippines, was addressing the participants of the 2nd International Conference for Rectors and Pastoral Personnel of Shrines on Nov. 11.

Over the centuries, the shrine has hosted an annual pilgrimage season from the first Tuesday of May to the first Tuesday of July, attracting millions of pilgrims from across the country and abroad

“It has been a miracle for us that, we are experiencing an increase of 1 to 2 million pilgrims per year, peaking to around 10 million pilgrims as of this year,” Tolentino added.

“The International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage becomes a testament to the enduring power of faith, the unbreakable bond between peoples and their spiritual heritage, and the capacity of a sacred space to transcend time and touch the hearts of generations,” he also said.

In June 2022, the Antipolo diocese announced that the Vatican had approved their petition to declare its cathedral an “international shrine.”

The church officially assumed this new status on March 25 when it received the decree from the Vatican.

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

Approximately 600 participants from 48 countries attended the meeting from Nov. 9 to 11, with 78 of them from the Philippines, constituting the largest delegation outside Italy.

The shrine rectors and workers gathered in the Vatican for their second international meeting, five years after the first gathering.

Organized by the Section for the Fundamental Questions regarding Evangelization in the World of the Dicastery for Evangelization in preparation for the Jubilee Year of 2025, the event ended with an audience with Pope Francis.

In his address, the pope recommended that these “special places” be first and foremost places of prayer, with care for the sacraments and the welcoming of pilgrims.

He also encouraged the shrines to offer consolation to visitors and pilgrims carrying burdens and problems through a “compassionate closeness.”


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