1st Ilocano bishop’s beatification on the way
MANILA, Philippines–A Cause for Beatification and Canonization was opened for the late Bishop Alfredo Florentin Verzosa, the first Ilocano bishop, at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Paul in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, on Jan. 11, 2013, to close in 2015. The records will then be brought to Rome for the next phase of the process, according to the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart of Lipa, Batangas, in a statement.
Verzosa was assigned to Nueva Segovia as a young priest, at a time when there was a dearth of priests due to the transfer of most of the local clergy to the new church established by Gregorio Aglipay.
Known for his trustworthiness, Verzosa was appointed consultor in the Synod of Nueva Segovia and served as secretary to bishops during their pastoral visits.
In 1916, Pope Benedict XV named Verzosa, then 39, the second Bishop of Lipa—the first Ilocano and fourth Filipino to be elevated to the bishopric. He opened many catechetical centers in seminaries and far-flung barrios and, together with Madre Laura Mendoza, founded the Missionary Catechists of the Sacred Heart in 1923.
To celebrate his life, a musical play titled “Ang Pasyon ni Obispo Alfredo Verzosa ng Nueva Segovia at Lipa” was written by Palanca awardee Franck G. Rivera. It is produced by the Bishop Alfredo Florentin Verzosa Foundation Inc. and directed by Joey G. Nombres. The premier will be held on July 6 at SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City with Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines members in attendance.
Verzosa was born on Dec. 9, 1877, in Vigan to a landed family. He obtained his Theology degree from the University of Santo Tomas in 1904 and was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 26 of that year.
Teaching catechism was his priority. He initiated catechetical movements in the diocese of Lipa, putting up churches, convents and schools and earning the name “The Great Builder.” He sometimes used his personal funds to provide for the needs of priests and the poor.
Verzosa was appointed concurrent Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia in 1926. As an administrator, he was particularly concerned with the wellbeing of priests and so issued a pastoral letter on the clergy. During his term, he negotiated the separation of the vast province of Pangasinan into a diocese. He held this post until the arrival of Bishop Sancho in 1927.
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