The Mass was both solemn and joyful in a huge outdoor venue that was used for the first time.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he was grateful for the success of the Nov. 30 National Thanksgiving Mass for St. Pedro Calungsod and looked forward to the next major hosting challenge.
In 2016, Cebu church officials will host the International Eucharistic Congress.
Palma mentioned this next event during Friday’s thanksgiving dinner attended by more than 500 clergymen, government officials and guests in the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) after the Mass.
He said the canonization of Calungsod was a “blessing” that showed the “value of faith” in the Church global celebration of the Year of Faith (2012 to 2013).
“The blessing and the gift is also a task…. Appreciate the faith and transmit it to future generations,” said the archbhop.
The Nov. 30 Mass in the South Road Properties was “very memorable” and “beyond description”, he said.
Palma thanked his predecessor Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal for having accepted the the role of overall chairman of the preparations for Calungsod’s canonization.
He recalled asking the 81-year-old prelate “Your Eminence, because of your expertise, experience and your influence, can you please chair the Calungsod canonization committee.” Vidal agreed.
Vidal was the main presider in the historic thanksgiving Mass which took place in a bamboo-pyramid-styled templete built for the occasion.
In his dinner message, Vidal said he learned to be “patient” in following up the cause of beatification then canonization of Calungsod which took almost 20 years in the Vatican.
He asked Palma to show the same persistence in pursuing the case of beatification of Cebuano Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, who died in 1988.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, in her dinner welcome remarks, said “Cebu, the cradle of Christianity, was made the venue where all of us came together in celebration, in unity.”
About 1,000 attended the dinner hosted by the provincial government.
Some cardinals who attended the Mass were unable to join the dinner, as they hand to catch earlier filghts to their home provinces.
Dinner guests were entertained with testvial dances from Toledo City, Liloan, Carcar, Argao and Mandaue City.