A Catholic archbishop from the Vatican reminded the Catholic faithful to turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary in their prayers because she may intercede in their behalf.

Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, Pro-prefect for the Section of New Evangelization of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization, gave this reminder when he presided over “Misa de Gracia” (Thanksgiving Mass of the Dicastery for Evangelization on the Solemn Declaration of the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage), 9:30 AM, Monday, Feb. 26 at the Antipolo Cathedral.

“In this shrine there is a ladder that ascends to God. Accompanying us in this ascent to heaven is the Virgin Mary. She, with the cross, was commiserated by Jesus to care for each of us, as if we were her children. And we are really her children. So let us open today our hearts. Let us keep our gaze fixed on her face. Let us be looked upon by her with a mother’s love, (who) never abandons us,” said the archbishop.

“There is no need to increase our words. She already knows what we need. We need only to trust in her help and be certain of her closeness and the sharing will never be lacking in our lives. If we are joyful, she rejoices with us. If we suffer, she suffers with us.  If we address our prayer, she intercedes for it to be answered. How much confidence and consolation. The words we heard bring to us today: Note that I am with you. I will protect you wherever you go. I will never leave you.”

The thanksgiving mass was held exactly a month after the formal declaration of the Antipolo Cathedral as the International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage.

The mass started with Archbishop Fisichella offering a golden rose before the image of the Virgin Mary. The golden rose was presented on behalf of his Holiness Pope Francis as an expression of the deep affection in which the Holy Pontiff holds the Holy Mother of God on His blessed place which He has chosen as Her dwelling place.

The archbishop reminded the Catholic faithful of the intercessory power of Mary’s prayers during the Homily of the mass he presided over.

Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown, Antipolo Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos, Shrine Rector and Parish Administrator of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Rev. Fr. Reynante U. Tolentino, Rizal Governor Nina Ynares, former Antipolo Mayor Andeng Ynares and hundreds of devotees attended the mass.

Exactly a month ago, January 26, the home of the image of the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the 450-year-old Antipolo Cathedral, was formally declared an International Shrine in a solemn mass presided by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown.

It was elevated as the first Catholic International Shrine in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, and only the 11th worldwide.

Bishop Santos, Auxiliary Bishop Nolly Buco of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Antipolo, over 80 bishops from across the country and hundreds of devotees participated in that feast celebrating the Virgin of Antipolo.

Photo from Antipolo Cathedral Facebook Account