IT has been 29 years since Archbishop Teofilo Camomot died but his presence continues to be felt by some Cebu-based Catholics today.
For Talisay City Councilor Julian “Teban” Daan, it was Camomot’s intercession that gave him a second lease on life.
On his last term as Provincial Board (PB) member representing Cebu’s first district in 2013, Daan was hospitalized after doctors found that some of his arteries had been clogged.
Daan, who was 69 at the time, had to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day in a private hospital, where doctors conducted a triple bypass procedure on him.
Daan told SunStar Cebu that when doctors examined his condition, they thought it was the end of him. One of his doctors called him a “walking time bomb,” Daan recalled. Another didn’t think he would live long.
A special cross
It was his wife, incumbent PB Member Yolanda “Yolly” Daan, who learned about a man named Kanor who led them to Camomot.
Kanor turned out to be a former sacristan or acolyte of the late archbishop, who migrated to the United States just before Camomot’s death.
According to Daan, Kanor was about to leave Cebu to migrate to the US when he decided to ask Monsignor Camomot for money. Upon hearing of his predicament, Camomot said he was willing to help Kanor and was searching in his pockets when he suddenly pulled out a wooden pectoral cross.
Instead of giving him money, Camomot gave Kanor his pectoral cross, hoping that it would help him someday.
Daan said that Kanor ended up using Camomot’s pectoral cross to pray for the sick.
Upon hearing that Kanor was in town, Daan’s wife went to him and told him of her husband’s situation.
Bearing the pectoral cross, Kanor went to the hospital and prayed with Daan. He placed the cross on Daan’s chest.
Almost 40 days since he was first confined, Daan was released from the hospital.
Since he got out, Daan and his wife often found time to visit Camomot’s tomb in Barangay Valladolid, Carcar City to pray.
He would often go on Saturdays, Daan added.
Searching for miracles
Since the start of the diocesan process to beatify Camomot in 2010, numerous letters and claims like that of Daan have reached the Archdiocese of Cebu, said Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili.
Balili, vice postulator of Camomot’s cause, told SunStar Cebu that they’ve been receiving claims of people who suffered life-threatening ailments but recovered, something they attribute to the late Monsignor Camomot’s intercession.
They also received stories from people who had sought Camomot’s intercession for problems, for which their prayers were granted. They also received simpler claims like students who believed they had passed licensure examinations as a favor from Camomot.
Balili, however, explained that stories from those who believed they survived life-threatening illnesses through Camomot’s intercession have to be validated.
For Camomot to be recognized as a saint, a genuine miracle is needed, he said.
The Church recognizes a miracle if: first, the person praying to the would-be saint was healed through faith and not through medical intervention; second, the person praying to the would-be saint had suffered from a life-threatening illness or was in a life-or-death situation; third, the person must have been praying to one saint when the miracle happened; and lastly, the person must live for at least five years after recovery.
No lasting dead ends
It’s up to the Congregation of the Causes of Saints in Rome to determine if a case is a miracle or not.
Rev. Mother Ma. Louella Grace Buscato, DST, said the process of finding a genuine miracle is a tedious one and needs careful assessment. Buscato, the current mother superior of the DST Mother House in Carcar City and one of the caretakers of Camomot’s relics, said the search for evidence of Camomot’s holiness has never discouraged them.
“We are more encouraged to help in the beatification process. Amo ning gitrato nga usa ka privilege nga gihatag sa amoa gikan ni Msgr. Camomot (We think of this is a privilege from Monsignor Camomot),” Buscato said.
For Balili, finding evidence of Camomot’s saintly work is like solving a puzzle.
“It’s challenging but it’s not difficult because there are many people helping us. Whenever we encounter a dead end, someone comes and helps us by providing new information on Monsignor Camomot’s life,” Fr. Balili added.
Buscato also reminded the faithful that the true miracle does not come from Camomot himself, but from God.
“Dili si Monsignor (Camomot) ang divine healer, si God gyud atong iampo. Si Msgr. Camomot kay backer ra niya (God is the divine healer and we should pray to Him. Think of Monsignor Camomot as your backer),” she added.