Pangasinan bishop seeks return of saint’s image missing since 2016 | Inquirer News

Pangasinan bishop seeks return of saint’s image missing since 2016

/ 05:00 AM August 19, 2023

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas on Thursday reinforced his position as both a priest and a Filipino citizen, reiterating the patriotic duty to partake in politics “Pro Deo et patria” (for God and country). pangasinan bishop missing image

Archbishop Socrates Villegas. FILE PHOTO / Roy Lagarde

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has formed a team tasked to track down the image of San Jacinto de Polonia that has gone missing for around seven years in San Jacinto town parish church in Pangasinan province.

According to an Aug. 17 circular signed by Villegas, the icon of San Jacinto was purportedly replaced by a newer version that had a different “slant of the head.”


The supposed switching was estimated to have occurred when the image was repainted between Aug. 17 and Sept. 23 back in 2016.


The committee members, along with the parish priest, were ordered to “explore all means” in recovering the religious icon. The team is composed of Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Layog, and priests Rafael Cruz and Melquiades Serraon.

“The team has concluded, based on empirical data, that the current image in the side retablo of the said parish church is different from the available photos… from the parish archives, particularly the slant of the head,” Villegas said in the memo.

The prelate thanked the lay faithful who raised the matter and called on the perpetrators to heed their “voice of conscience” and return it to the Catholic Church, which he said was the “rightful owner.”

“It is indeed a demand of Catholic morality that the image be returned,” added Villegas.

He also reminded San Jacinto devotees that icons of saints “do not have intrinsic spiritual powers,” adding that “more important than having images of saints is the imitation of their virtues.”

READ: ‘No room for neutrality’: Bishop urges Catholics to protest vs misuse of public funds

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TAGS: archbishop, Pangasinan, Saint, Villegas

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