Vatican approves process to make Archbishop Teofilo Camomot a saint
CEBU CITY — The Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the diocesan process for the cause of sainthood of the late Cebuano Archbishop Teofilo Camomot who was known for his extreme generosity and love for the poor.
In a letter addressed to the Cebu Archdiocese dated Nov. 9, Angelo Cardinal Amato said the inquiries and affidavits of witnesses gathered by the archdiocese on the life, virtues, and holiness of Camomot were valid and legitimate.
Amato is the prefect of the congregation that oversees the complex process that leads to canonization.
Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili, vice postulator of Camomot’s cause, hopes to begin the next step of the process, which is to prove that the late archbishop possessed heroic virtues that will give the bishop the title “venerable.”
“We’re very happy that the congregation approved what we are doing. We were not asked to change anything nor add something to it. Everything is good,” Balili told the Inquirer.
According ot him, the diocesan process includes gathering of documents and writings of Camomot as well as the testimonies of witnesses who had personal encounters with the archbishop.
“The first stage involves the creation of a tribunal, the theological committee, and the historical committee. The tribunal gathered the testimonies of witnesses. The historical committee gathered all the writings which was analyzed by the theological committee,” he explained.
Balili said they ended the diocesan process last March and submitted everything to Rome in April.
“We got the results this month. That means, it took seven months for the congregation to approve it. Seven months is very, very fast already,” he said.
Balili is on top of the cause of sainthood for Camomot. He collaborates with the Rome-based postulator Fr. Samson Silloriquez.
The next part, he said, would be the preparation of the Positio, which would summarize the life and virtues of Camomot.
The Positio includes the biography of Camomot, the testimonies of witnesses, and explanation why the late archbishop should be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.
When the Positio is finished, it will be submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. It will be studied by theologians and then passed to the cardinal members of the congregation who in turn will vote.
Their votes will determines whether the cause will continue or end. If the vote is affirmative, the recommendation of a Decree of Heroic Virtues is sent to the Pope.
Once the candidate’s heroic virtues have been recognized by the Pope, Camomot will be called “venerable.”
“From there, we wait for one miracle so that he will become a blessed. And once he become a blessed, we will wait for another miracle to become a saint,” Balili said.
Balili called on the people to keep praying for the cause of sainthood of Camomot.
“We also ask the people to disseminate information about the sanctity of Archbishop Camomot so that more people will pray and receive favors through his intercession,” he said.
It was the Daughters of St. Teresa, a religious congregation which Camomot founded, which earlier petitioned for the opening of a cause for beatification and canonization of the Cebuano archbishop.
On Oct. 15, 2010, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, then the archbishop of Cebu, announced that the Holy See had approved the opening of the cause for Camomot’s beatification and canonization. A diocesan inquiry was then made.
Since the cause for sainthood was started for Camomot, the late archbishop has been called a “Servant of God.”
Camomot, fondly known as Monsignor Lolong, was known for his exceptional love for the poor.
In some instances, the Carcar City native pawned his episcopal ring and pectoral cross (the large crucifix worn by bishops) and gave the proceeds to the poor. The archbishop would also give away whatever he had to the needy.
Camomot died in a vehicular accident in San Fernando town on Sept. 27, 1988. He was 74.
The Archdiocese of Cebu ruled that the heroic virtues demonstrated by Archbishop Camomot are worthy of sainthood.
If his cause for sainthood will be approved by the Pope, Camomot will become the Philippines’ third saint next to San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila and San Pedro Calungsod – both lay persons. /atm