Vatican date ‘enough time to prepare,’ says Cebu Archbishop
Oct. 21, 2012 is a red-letter day for Filipino Catholics and Cebuanos in particular.
Pope Benedict XVI announced the date for the canonization of Pedro Calungsod, a young Visayan martyr, along with six other candidates for sainthood from Europe and the United States.
The date of the Vatican rites was eagerly awaited to set in motion preparations by the clergy and devotees in Cebu, where the campaign for Calungsod’s 2005 beatification and canonization started.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma watched the live broadcast of the Pope’s announcement over EWTN from his residence in Cebu City.
He threw his fist in the air and said “Wow!”
“This is a long-awaited moment. The official announcement was made by the Pope. Of course, people would be very happy. I was alone in my room. I was rejoicing,” Palma told Cebu Daily News.
The Pope declared the the coming honors for seven “blessed,” a title given to beatified members of the church, at the end of a consistory for new cardinals held at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome about 7 p.m. Philippine time.
“By authority of Almighty God, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and our Own, we decree that Blessed Jacques Berthieu, Pedro Calungsod, Giovanni Battista Piamarta, María del Monte Carmelo Sallés y Barangueras, Marianne Cope, Kateri Tekakwitha and Anna Schäffer are to be enrolled among the Saints … ,” the Pope said in Latin.
Calungsod’s companions for sainthood came from Italy, France, Spain, Germany and America.
Calungsod, the missionary helper of a Jesuit priest, was killed by natives of Guam in 1672.
Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was in Rome attending the consistory that named 22 new cardinals.
Vidal is the overall chairman for the canonization of Calungsod.
“With the announcement, Cardinal Vidal will have a meeting with Cebuano student priests in Rome to make the necessary preparation,” said Fr. Mhar Balili.
Fr. Balili, a Cebu diocesan priest studying in Rome’s Pontifico Sant Anselmo, will lead the committee on liturgy for the canonization of Calungsod there.
Msgr. Joseph Tan will head the committee for catechism for the Filipino migrants in Italy, Fr. Ely Suico and Msgr. Rogelio Fuentes for the committee on pilgrims in Rome.
Fr. Balili said Cardinal Vidal will leave for Cebu tomorrow.
Archbishop Palma said Vidal wanted the date of the canonization to fall in October so there would be enough time to prepare for it.
Traditionally, these special church rites take place in summer or fall. The canonization of Pope John Paul II was held last May 1.
Palma said Calungsod’s Oct. 12 canonization falls on the third Sunday of October, which also marks the elebration of World Mission Sunday.
“It gives us a reason for thanksgiving and joy. Let us give thanks to the Lord for giving us another Filipino saint,” said Palma, who’s also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
“Calungsod is our intercessor and friend in heaven. He is a model for us to spread the faith.”
Calungsod is the patron saint for Cebu youths, a title declared by Cardinal Vidal.
The Cebu Archdiocese plans to raise at least P50 million for the event through donations.
While the Vatican mounts the main liturgical rites, other activities to ensure full participation of the Filipino faithful will need additional logistics.
Episcopal Vicar Msgr. Esteban Binghay said 10 percent of the target P50 million will come from the parishes at P15,000 to P150,000 each, depending on the size and population, while clergy members would contribute P2,000 to P20,000 each.
Binghay said P30 million to P35 million will be spent for the canonization rites in Rome, while P20 to P25 million will be spent for the National Thanksgiving Rites in Cebu.
Precanonization activites would include liturgical functions in Rome and novena masses in Cebu.
Binghay said a live-video feed to a giant screen is being planned for Cebu City, possibly at the South Roads Properties.
In Rome, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, presented the seven candidates for canonization to the Pope.
“These seven blesseds, living amid the circumstances of their times, bore witness to the extraordinary fruitfulness and perennial newness of the Gospel … they are also powerful intercessors for divine assistance, heavenly graces and favors,” he said.
A group of medical experts, theologians and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints helped the Pope decide on these cases.
The miracle attributed to Calungsod happened in 2003 when a Visayan woman who had heart surgery “rapidly recovered” from lack of oxygen in her brain.
The woman, whose identity has been kept confidential so far by the Archdiocese, is expected to be among the delegates attending the Rome rites.
The doctor believed that she would die the following day and prayed, invoking Calungsod’s intercession for her recovery.
Like beatification, one miracle should be attributed to the intercession of Calungsod for him to be declared a saint. The miracle can only be validated by the pope.
Calungsod served as a catechist and assistant on a mission organized by Fr. Diego de San Vitores to the Ladrones Islands, now known as Guam.
He was speared with a cutlass by hostile natives in April 2, 1672 when he and Fr. Diego were baptizing villagers.