Pedro as patron for migrants?

Posted on November 5, 2012

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A clamor to have the Philippines’ new saint Pedro Calungsod named patron of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) or migrants is expected to intensify after the Oct. 21 canonization.

It will need a formal request to the Vatican, said Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu.

“It all depends on our archbishop (Jose Palma of Cebu),” Vidal told reporters who asked him when he arrived from Rome.

Vidal said the request has to be submitted to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, which in turn would submit it to the Holy See “before he will be officially declared a patron especially for the OFWS because he became a martyr outside the Philippines.”

Vidal said the real work after canonization is directed at spreading the devotion to Calungsod.

He said this can happen because Filipinos live and working all over the world.

Calungsod was 17 years old when he was killed by Chamorro natives in 1672 in present day Guam, where he traveled with a Jesuit mission to evangelize pagans in the Marianas Islands.

The Catholic Church already has two patron saints for migrants, both Italians according to the Vatican’s official website.

One is a nun, Frances Xavier Cabrini and the other is John Baptist Scalabrini.

Filipinos were the biggest national delegation in St. Peter’s Square, about 5,000 pilgrims, many of them waving Philippine flags, during the Oct. 21 ceremony where six other saints were canonized.

Before that, “blessed”Calungsod was promoted as a patron, intercessor and role model for Filipno youths, OFWs, catechists and even sacristans.

Canonization elevates him to the altar as a saint worthy of reverence by the entire Catholic Church.

No palakasan

It will be many years, if not another generation, before a third Filipino saint is named.

The next candidates are all priests and nuns, unlike the two current Filipino saints Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod who are both laymen.

“In Rome, there is no palakasan,” said Vidal, who waited for almost 20 years of documentation and scrutiny by Vatican officials for the 2012 canonization of Calungsod.

“You know what I learned in this process? Every year I was in Rome, I would visit the Congregation (of the Causes of Saints) to ask the status of the case. We really have to follow up,” he said.

“You need a process which must be documented. The documentation is made in a way that there will be no doubt (because) the Church does not beatify or canonize a ghost. He must be a real living person before,” Vidal said.

The Philippine church is working on the causes for sainthood of two bishops, including Bishop Teofilo Camomot of Cebu.

The other candidates are Bishop Alredo Obviar of Lucena, Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo of Manila, and Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation La Consolacion College in Manila, and the founders of the Augustinian Sisters of La Consolacion College in Manila.

The most advanced is that of Bishop Obviar whom Vidal used to work with in Lucena. Obviar founded the missionary catechists of St. Therese of the Child Jesus.

“The Congregation of the Causes of Saints is now examining the virtues of the former bishop and after that, they have to submit evidence of two miracles,” said Vidalon Friday.

Cebu’s Bishop Camomot, a native of Carcar, was the founder of the congregation of the Daughters of St. Teresa and was known for his generosity to th poor.

“The investigation of his life and ministry is still here. After that, once we have concluded it and we have formed all the procedures in a book, we will bring that to Rome,” Vidal said.

In 2010, Vidal formed a commission to look into Camomot’s cause.

Also a candidate for sainthood is Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, the founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Religious of the Virgin Mary.

She was known for her acts of religious poverty and piety. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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