(Photo courtesy of CBCP News)

MANILA – The National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage or Antipolo Cathedral will be elevated to an international shrine starting next week.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website reported on Thursday that the cathedral will officially assume its new status on March 25.

The shrine announced on Tuesday that it received the Vatican decree elevating the church to the rank of international shrine.

“It’s official. We are now elevated into an international shrine,” it said.

“The decree has been sent to us by the Holy See and will be effective by March 25, 2023,” the Antipolo Cathedral added.

In June 2022, Antipolo Bishop Francisco de Leon reported that the Vatican approved their petition to grant the shrine such privilege.

“We are now in full anticipation of the solemn declaration of our international shrine in the coming months,” the cathedral said.

The declaration makes the Antipolo Cathedral the country’s first international shrine and the third in Asia, after the St. Thomas Church Malayattoor in India and the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground and Seoul Pilgrimage Routes in South Korea.

March 25 also coincides with the day when the image of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage departed the Mexican town of Acapulco on board a galleon 397 years ago.

The shrine added that the three-month sail was not smooth as it was met by storms and almost caught on fire.

Despite these challenges, the ship arrived safely on the Philippine shore on June 18, 1626, where the image got its title, Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage. (PNA)