Catholics celebrated the declaration of the Antipolo Cathedral as an international shrine on Friday, with a bishop describing it as “historic” and “a moment of grace”.
Around 80 bishops from across the nation attended the Vatican’s declaration of the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.
Bishop Ruperto Santos of Antipolo said that the cathedral’s new status “is now the gift of the Philippine Church to the whole world”.
“We pray and hope that we will be a blessing to all, we will be his channels of grace and instruments of God’s goodness to others,” Santos said.
“Let this be our mandate and mission from now on that this will be a shrine of conversion, compassion, and charity,” he said.
The bishop particularly emphasized the shrine’s mission to help the “vulnerable and the voiceless”.
“Let them experience through us the love of God, the charity of God, the compassion of God through us,” he said.
The Mass was presided over by Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio Charles Brown.
In his homily, he said that the cathedral’s new designation is “in recognition of the internationality of Philippine Catholicism”.
Among the church leaders present were Cardinal Jose Advincula, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, and Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the episcopal conference.
Several government officials also graced the occasion, including First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.
Before the Mass, Brown and Santos led the rite of the coronation of the centuries-old image of Our Lady of Antipolo at the cathedral’s patio.