An old Philippine shrine part of the Pope's 'prayer marathon'

On 7 May, the COVID-19 prayer campaign will stop at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Antipolo), the oldest Marian shrine in the country. Other famous shrines include the Basilica of the Annunciation in Israel, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, and Meryem Ana Evi in Turkey.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Antipolo, Rizal province, known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, will be one of the sites of the "prayer marathon" organised to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative during the Marian month will be part of the global prayer campaign launched by Pope Francis to end the global health emergency. The marathon will start at 6 pm on 1 May in the Gregorian chapel of the Vatican basilica broadcast live by the channels of the Holy See.

The Marian shrine in Antipolo is the oldest in the Philippines. It is one of 30 similar sites around the world to take part in the prayer campaign.

A different prayer intention will be recited each day, always connected to the ongoing pandemic. The one at the Philippine shrine is scheduled for 7 May dedicated to all the families, in particular those affected in various ways by the novel coronavirus.

Other famous shrines involved in the prayer marathon are the Basilica of the Annunciation in Israel, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Meryem Ana Evi (House of the Virgin Mary) in Turkey, and Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines declared the church in Antipolo a national shrine in 1954, the first in the country as well as Southeast Asia.

In a press release, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation notes that the “initiative is being conducted in the light of the biblical expression: ‘Prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God’ (Acts 12:5).”