Antipolo Church Is Vatican's First International Shrine in PH

A church in Antipolo city received the Vatican’s blessing. It is now the first international shrine in the Philippines.

The Vatican has blessed the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo as the Philippine’s first international shrine. It received the honor on March 25, 2023.

This recognition marks a significant milestone for the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The cathedral in Antipolo became the first Marian international shrine in Asia and the sixth worldwide.

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Vatican’s Blessing

The Vatican’s declaration bestows special significance on this historic church—which is a popular pilgrimage site visited by many devotees—while making it the 11th globally and the third in Asia, following the St. Thomas Church Malayattoor India, and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground together with the Seoul Pilgrimage Routes in South Korea.

This recognition is a testament to the profound religious and cultural importance of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. During the Pilgrimage Season, the statue experiences a temporary transfer from Antipolo Cathedral to Quiapo Church, where the Black Nazarene is.

In the Catholic Church, shrines hold a place of spiritual significance for believers. There are three types of shrines. Diocesan shrines are those which local bishops approve, national shrines require the recognition of bishops’ conferences, and international shrines which the Vatican exclusively endorse.

It often encompasses historic locations, approved Marian apparition sites, and places connected to saints, adding to their religious importance.

Sacred Honor

The journey to achieving this status for the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage began with a petition from the Diocese of Antipolo in July 2021. This petition received endorsement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, signifying widespread support within the Catholic community for this historic recognition.

The diocese hoped this recognition honor the church and also symbolize faith. They also aspire that it inspires Filipinos and individuals worldwide dedicated to the causes of peace and safe voyages. Many see the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage as a spiritual beacon for those seeking the love of Christ and the maternal care of the Blessed Mother. As a testament to its power, many know the image of Our Lady statue for mysteriously vanishing several times from its shrine while its church was under construction in the 1930s. It was then-Governor General Juan Niño de Tabora who brought the statue to the country.

The diocese said in a statement that the declaration was an honor for Filipinos across the world. “This 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 good voyage attest their fervor in the faith to the love of Christ and to the maternal care of the Blessed Mother,” it said.

First National and International Shrine

The announcement of the Vatican’s recognition came via a letter from Rome. This confirms that the church would gain its status as of June 18, 2022.

Bishop Francisco de Leon shared this momentous news during a Mass celebrating the diocese’s 39th founding anniversary. Even so, the official declaration from the Vatican had yet to reach the diocese at the time of the announcement.

Central to this recognition is the 17th-century brown-skinned Madonna, “Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje.” It became a source of solace and inspiration, henceforth prompting hope for pilgrims and devotees who have visited the shrine.

Notably, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage actively participated in a worldwide prayer marathon.

Pope Francis initiated this in May 2020 to seek divine intervention in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, this demonstrates the shrine’s commitment to its role as a place of faith, prayer, and unity during challenging times.

This recognition is a significant achievement. For the people and for the Diocese of Antipolo and the Catholic community in the Philippines.

This recognition is a significant achievement. This benefits the people, the Diocese of Antipolo, and the Catholic community in the Philippines.

It reaffirms the church’s spiritual importance and its symbolic role of peace, guiding pilgrims and believers from across the world.


On January 2024, Most Reverend Charles John Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines presided over the rites that officially declared Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City as a Marian International Shrine, according to Pot Chavez of the Philippine News Agency.

Banner Photo by Antipolo Cathedral via website

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