Festive mood for Pinoy devotees in Rome, PH

Posted on October 23, 2012

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They said they don’t know whether they would still be around to witness the canonization of yet another Filipino saint.

But Filipino priests who attended Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod’s canonization in Rome, Italy yesterday know they would never forget being a part of a historic event.

Fr. Joe Quilong-quilong said Cebuano pilgrims in Rome waited as early as 4:30 a.m., and braved the cold morning in order to enter the gates of St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

“People waited patiently,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

Quilong-quilong said the Filipino delegation cheered the loudest and waved Philippine flags after Pope Benedict XVI mentioned St. Pedro Calungsod from the Philippines.

“Mood was very festive. Clearly we were the biggest delegtaion. Many had to stand since there were not enough seats for almost P30,000 pilgrims in the square,” he said.

Fr. Mhar Balili, the chairperson of the liturgical committee for Calungsod’s canonization in Rome, said he observed a deeper sense of spirituality among the Filipino delegation.

“Our faith is very alive. The pilgrims come here, not just to make a tour, but because of their faith. In coming to Rome, they too want to be holy ,” Fr. Mhar Balili told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

He said Calungsod’s sainthood conveys a message to young people in particular.

“The youth is not the recipient of faith. They, too, are bearers of the faith to other people,” he said.

Balili credited his being able to finish his studies in Rome to the intercession of Calungsod.

“Pedro was instrumental to my success as a student,” said Balili, who recently finished his Licentiate in Liturgy in the Pontifico San’t Anselmo.

Fr. Charles Jayme, the official custodian of Calungsod’s image, also felt the emotion that filled St. Peter’s Square during the canonization.

“The jampacked St. Peter’s Square illustrates the joy of the church as we welcome seven newly canonized saints, including our own katagilungsod, Pedro, to the list of holymen and women in heaven,” he said.

Msgr. Arthur Navales, chairperson of the Commission on Worship of the Cebu archdiocese, urged young people to emulate Calungsod’s pursuit for God.

“Pedro is a real young person. We are not created differently. It is possible for young people to live a life of holiness. We look into the heart and recognize the goodness in us,” Navales said.

Navales, who also chairs the Cebu Archdiocese’s Commission on Youth, said young people search for “happiness” but are often misled as they long to realize their desires.

“The problem is people are content with substitute happiness. They watch a movie or take drugs. In the end, these are just substitutes. The society and the Church should lead them to look for the real happiness,” he said.

Navales said it is possible for young people to become saints with the guidance of the Church.

“The youth needs direction. The Lord has given us the answer and it’s no less than our katagilungsod, Pedro Calungsod,” he said.

In one’s pursuit of happiness, Navales echoed the words of Pope Benedict XVI who told young people “the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to has a name and a face. It is Jesus of Nazareth.”

Navales said Calungsod exercised true friendship and courage in doing what he felt he ought to do.

In the Internet age, he said young people can high tech gadgets to proclaim God’s goodness.

Msgr. Esteban Binghay, episcopal vicar of the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Calungsod’s sainthood should lead everyone to the Lord.

“We may not be canonized but it’s enough that we believe and behave,” he said.

In order to become saints, Binghay said one should be embrace God’s will and should live in the community that would help reinforce the virtue of obedience. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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