Saint Pedro Calungsod, pray for usBy Malou Guanzon-Apalisok
Cebu Daily News
My friends who went to Rome to witness the canonization of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod are finding out for themselves how it is to be in the Eternal City at this time of the year. It’s the fall season in Europe and at 18 to 22 degrees Celsius, most Filipino visitors, I heard, enjoyed the initial stages of their European trip.
Vatican state has chosen Oct. 21 to declare the sainthood of our very own Pedro and six other exemplary Catholics. Many pilgrims from the United States and Canada had anticipated the canonization of Blessed Marianne Cope of Molokai and Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, a native American.
Jesuit priest Jacques Bertihieu, who was born in Polminhac, France was martyred in Ambiatibe, Madagascar and I think many pilgrims from these countries also went to Rome. Father Giovanni Battista Piamarta is of Italian origin and founded a religious congregation for men and women. Carmen Salles y Baragueras, who founded a religious order for women is Spanish. Anna Schaffer, a lay German woman wanted to become a missionary but was prevented by failing health.
Some 4,000 Pinoys made the trip to the Vatican according to official Church sources. Filipinos made their presence felt in St. Peter’s Basilica grounds as they waved the national flag and based on the number of Philippine flags caught by TV cameras yesterday, I think the Filipinos comprised the biggest crowd, more than the American, Canadian, Spanish and German delegation.
In any case, Pinoy pilgrims had to jostle with hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Italy is the world’s fifth top tourist destination, coming after France, the United States, China and Spain. Italy, according to a frequent traveller, mesmerizes because of its history, arts, fashion, culture, ancient monuments, beautiful coastlines and mountains. The country draws at least 43 million visitors a year, and the tourism industry generates US $43 billion annually. Rome, the Italian capital which used to be epicenter of European politics before the fall of the Roman Empire is a magnet for visitors.
Those who think going on a pilgrimage to Rome is fun have another think coming. A couple friend e-mailed me to say that since they arrived in Portugal as the first stop in their European sojourn, their daily schedule consisted of walking up early to visit tourist destinations, walking for hours to visit museums, shop for gift items and souvenirs. Then it’s time to go back to the hotel.
Several days of waking up early from Portugal to Spain to Paris and finally to Rome took a toll on their physical condition that many went down with colds and allergic rhinitis. Because of fatigue, many practically dragged themselves and their suitcases to their hotel. Many also became irritable.
But a frequent traveller said Rome does not disappoint. My friend said that landmarks were always packed with people. At the Vatican museum, their jaws dropped seeing the awesome and magnificent works of art by Michaelangelo inside the Sistine Chapel. At the sight of those treasures, their fatigue melted away and I’m sure that predisposed them to the high point of their trip, the canonization of the seven beatos including the pride and joy of the Philippines and young people everywhere, Pedro Calungsod.
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Local politics took a backseat the past weeks as preparations for the canonization of Blessed now Saint Pedro Calungsod reached fever pitch. Still, one political news item grabbed the attention of newsroom workers and political observers: the appointment of Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez as Department of Interior and Local Government undersecretary. I picked up the news from the social networking site through media colleague Jess Villarba who said Cebu City south district Congressman Tommy Osmena who volunteered the information.
Bimbo’s ascent to national politics will always be seen as the work of power play because he is a protégée of Congressman Osmena, but the appointment does not diminish his work for the urban poor. Bimbo used to head the Presidential Commission for the Urban poor during the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino.
More from this Column:
- P Noy as chief campaigner
- Race to Cebu City Hall
- Hot weather, hot races
- Dilaab’s quixotic campaign
- David and Goliath in Talisay City