Catholic Church

CBCP endorses Padre Pio Shrine of Batangas as international shrine

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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CBCP endorses Padre Pio Shrine of Batangas as international shrine

UP FOR APPROVAL. The Parish and National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio will become the Philippines' second international shrine once approved by the Vatican.

Parish and National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio

The National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas, is expected to be the second international Catholic shrine in the Philippines, following the Antipolo Cathedral

MANILA, Philippines – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) endorsed the application of the iconic Padre Pio Shrine in Santo Tomas, Batangas, to become a Vatican-approved international shrine. 

“Once approved by Rome, it is going to be the second international shrine in the Philippines,” announced CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, July 8.

The bishops’ conference made this decision at the 128th CBCP plenary assembly at Chali Resort and Conference Center in Cagayan de Oro City. It was the first time that the CBCP, the assembly of the country’s 122 active and retired Catholic bishops, held its highest-level meeting in the southern Philippine island group of Mindanao.

The National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio, established in 2003, is a famous pilgrimage site especially for Filipinos in need of healing from illnesses.

The shrine is named after Italian-born Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, who lived from 1887 to 1968. He was known for producing miracles, bilocating or being in two places at once, and carrying the stigmata or the wounds of Christ that reportedly appeared with blood and the smell of perfume on parts of Padre Pio’s body, most notably his hands.

The international shrine status for the Padre Pio Shrine, which only the Vatican can grant, is expected to boost international tourism in Batangas, a province of 2.9 million people that is located south of Manila and is known for its beaches and other natural wonders.

The first international Catholic shrine in the Philippines is the Antipolo Cathedral, also known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, in the 3.3-million-strong province of Rizal. The Vatican approved the Antipolo Cathedral’s international shrine status in June 2022.

The 450-year-old Antipolo Cathedral is the first international Catholic shrine in Southeast Asia, the third in Asia, and the 11th worldwide.

At its 128th plenary assembly, the CBCP also designated two new national shrines: the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of the Assumption in Maasin City, Southern Leyte, and the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Novaliches, Quezon City.

The national shrine status is likewise expected to increase visitors to these pilgrimage sites. – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior multimedia reporter covering religion for Rappler. He also teaches journalism at the University of Santo Tomas. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.