The nation’s Catholic bishops will gather in the city of Antipolo on Friday for the declaration of the Antipolo Cathedral as an international shrine.
More than 80 bishops are expected to attend the liturgy at 10 a.m. to be presided over by Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines.
The bishops from across the country are currently in Manila for a seminar in preparation for their 127th plenary assembly at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center on Saturday until noon of Jan. 29.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is currently composed of 125 members, 82 active, 39 are bishops emeriti, and 4 priest administrators.
Prior to the Mass, a procession of the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage will be held at 8 a.m. from the sacristy to the church’s facade.
A rite of coronation of the image will then be held at 9:30 a.m., led by the nuncio and Bishop Ruperto Santos of Antipolo.
The cathedral, also the country’s first national shrine, is a popular pilgrimage site visited by many devotees of Our Lady of Antipolo.
In June 2022, the Vatican announced the approval of the petition to elevate the cathedral into an international shrine — the first in Southeast Asia and the 11th worldwide.
According to a Vatican decree, the cathedral’s new status took effect on March 25 of last year.
A shrine is a sacred place that must meet specific requirements outlined in the norms for shrine designation.
The local ordinary is responsible for approving the statutes of a diocesan shrine, the conference of bishops for a national shrine, and the Holy See alone for an international shrine.
The responsibility for approving the designation of international shrines and coordinating their activities falls under the Section of New Evangelization of the Dicastery for Evangelization, led by Archbishop Rino Fisichella as its pro-prefect.