A February to remember

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This week opened with the God-sent announcement by Pope Benedict XVI of the approval of the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod of Cebu. With his canonization now set for October 21st this year, the Philippines will have its second Filipino saint after St. Lorenzo Ruiz. Many Philippine devotees have started making arrangements to visit Rome to attend the canonization of St. Pedro Calunsod.

This week Pope Benedict also named 22 new cardinals. Thanks to TV coverage on EWTN channel, I viewed the consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome marking the elevation of the new cardinals

Then mid-week, last February 22nd, the church observed Ash Wednesday, signifying the start of the 40-day Lenten Season that will culminate with Holy Week and the glory of Easter Sunday.

That same day, Wednesday in the afternoon, the relic of St. Clare of Assisi arrived in Cebu and was immediately taken to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral where a Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Jose Palma. St. Clare is the patron saint of television, telephones, telegraphs, embroiderers, those with eye troubles, of childless couples and of the poor. With both this sacred visit and the forthcoming canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod, Archbishop Palma said the Catholic flock would have more guidance and inspiration to live a virtuous life.

The relic is a portion of St. Clare’s skull enclosed in a cross-shaped reliquary. After the Mass and veneration by devotees, the relic was brought to the Poor Clare Seminary in Tayud, Consolacion, where it will stay for veneration until tomorrow, Saturday.

The visit of the relic in the Philippines is part of the year-round 800th year celebration of the founding of the Order of St. Clare that ends in October. Her feast is held on August 11th commemorating her death on that day in 1253. She was canonized two years later.

And now to concerns more earthly. In the wake of that disastrous 6.9-magnitude earthquake, hillsides in Negos Oriental and western Cebu facing the Tañon Strait have not only experienced disastrous landslides, but also the appearance of a frightening widening and deepening sinkhole in Dumanjug. Media has turned to scientific experts and geologists, in particular, to clarify this phenomenon, which I trust you are following in daily media reports.

I have talked about such scientific occurrences to a couple of young high school students I know and am appalled, with my earlier teaching in public schools, at not only their lack of interest in finding the answers of how and why from scientific sources, as well as the apparent lack of interest on the part of some of their teachers in relating their lessons to real everyday happenings. Help!

And in relation to this, the controversy over the introduction of the K-12 school plan with the forthcoming school year. I read about the “advantages” of adding two more years of schooling to our current 10 years before college, and apparent short-term “orientation” of teachers in the school plan, but not too much, apparently in curriculum content, what wih the placing of three (!) concerns put together in one teaching subject (“integration”?).

Today, the 24th, is Cebu City’s 75th Charter Day. There have been preliminary reports on activities and awarding ceremonies that we should come across in the media today.

One heartwarming event this week concerns the first successful open-heart surgery on a 13-year old girl at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. We learn that it was the first open heart surgery conducted in a government hospital in Central Visayas. Kudos to the VSMMC Cardiac Team for this successful charity operation was done in the Visayas! After years of being badgered for its services and hospital medical team, this historical medical center, formerly Southern Islands Hospital, congratulations one and all for successfully weathering it through with triumphs like this!

And now to turn to the current running coverage of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona, which I continue to follow daily, following the judicial proceedings, while struck by the judicial/senatorial moves and reasoning.

Then yesterday, we of the Cebu Girl Scouts Council held our last Council Board Meeting for this ending triennium to elect our new Council Board Officers and plan for the induction ceremony for the forthcoming triennium.

Our newly elected officers are: President Ida Yting, Vice President for Field Venus Flores, Vice Pesident for Fund Leticia Canoy, Vice President for International Lita Ortiz, Secretary Helen Balingit, Assistant Secretary Erlinda Sanchez, Treasurer Anita Abapo, Assistant Treasurer Fe Villegas, Auditor Dolores Abellanosa, In charge of Program Vivien Ginete and In charge of Training Emerita Malazarte.

Before we concluded the election-meeting, we paid tribute to outgoing president Amelia de Pio, who earlier told us she was not running for reelection, for her successful triennial leadership of our Cebu Girl Scout Council She in turn thanked the Council for its cooperation in her successful triennial term.

Congratulations all!

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