Celebrations for two new saints

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By Danny B. Dangcalan

A Walk in the Park

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


BACOLOD City will launch two celebrations as it joins the rest of the Catholic world in jubilation of the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII on Sunday, April 27.

The two popes will be elevated to sainthood at rites at the Vatican City in Rome.

The Diocese of Bacolod is holding "Aggiornamento Event in Bacolod," a three-day preparation leading to the canonization of the two popes, while the Bacolod-based John Paul II National Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family will hold "A Festival of New Saints" on Sunday.

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Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, said the "Aggiornamento" activities will be held at the John Paul II Tower at the reclamation area.

The Pope Tower was built in memorial to the pope's visit to Bacolod in 1981.

"The tower contains Pope John Paul II's relics, mementos, and photos to perpetuate his life, holiness, and advocacy, which is Civilization of Love and Culture of Life," Pasquin told Sun.Star.

The JP II Tower is perhaps the only tower in the Philippines built for Pope John Paul II, he said, adding that the tower was a gift from businessman Simplicio Palanca of BREDCO (Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp.) in 2009, a Year of the Priests.

"Aggiornamento" is Italian word for updating, change, or renewal of the church called by the Second Vatican Council convoked in 1961 by Pope John XXIII, he said.

Activities include medical mission for the sick and elderly tomorrow, April 24; feeding for children on April 25; procession around the Pope Tower on April 26. There will be Masses at 5:30 p.m. on each day. Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra will say Mass at 10 a.m. at the San Sebastian Cathedral on April 27.

Meanwhile, the canonization rites on Sunday will be aired live by SkyCable at the Bacolod plaza at 4 p.m. as part of the celebration dubbed "A Festival of New Saints" being organized by the JP II Institute, in partnership with GMA Network, Rev. Msgr. Victorino Rivas, director of the JP II Institute, said.

Rivas said they have received an order from Rome to celebrate the sainthood of the two popes.

“We have to promote the devotion of these two popes exactly because their devotion would mean a lot in the life of the Church and the growth of Christian life especially for the Blessed John Paul II where we have his school here,” Rivas, also the judicial vicar of the Diocese of Bacolod, explained.

The John Paul II Institute is a "living legacy" of the pope; it is not merely named after the pope, it is, in fact, an institute that the pope himself created, Rivas said.

Simply called the JP II Institute, it is part of the worldwide Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family. It is the only one of its kind in the Philippines, and to some extent, in Asia, Rivas said.

"A Festival of New Saints" will also include a Concelebrated Mass at 10:30 a.m. at the Redemptorist Shrine and a motorcade and parade at 2:30 p.m.

At 4 p.m. the live telecast of the canonization will begin at the Bacolod plaza. It will be capped with a Kapuso Night by GMA Network at 7 p.m. featuring actress Jennylyn Mercado and singer Julie Ann San Jose.

Prior to the canonization, a Triduum of Masses is scheduled this week at the Redemptorist Shrine in Bacolod to usher in the celebrations for the canonization of the two popes.

The Masses will begin on tomorrow, April 24, until Saturday, April 26.

The Triduum will begin with the 5:30 p.m. Mass on April 24 that will focus on the "Life and Works of Blessed John XXIII" to be presided by Rev. Fr. Salvador Barcelona.

It will be followed on April 25 with the Mass on the "Life and Works of Blessed John Paul II" that will be presided by Rev. Fr. Ronald Quijano.

On April 26, the eve of the canonization, Rivas will preside over the Mass that will focus on "Excerpts from the Documents of Vatican II."

Two Popes

Pope John Paul II (Karol Jozef Wojtyla) was born in Poland in 1920. He is the longest-reigning pope in modern history. He was pope from Oct. 16, 1978 to his death on April 2, 2005, at age 84. He was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

He was one of the most travelled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonized 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries.

He was beatified on May 1, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli) was pope from October 28, 1958 to his death in 1963.

He was elected pope at the age of 76 after eleven ballots. No one could have been more surprised with the election than Roncalli himself, who had come to Rome with a return train ticket to Venice.

Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a “caretaker pope” by calling the historic Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) that had opened up the Catholic Church in the early 1960s to the modern world.

His passionate views on equality were summed up in his famous statement 'We were all made in God's image, and thus, we are all Godly alike.’

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 23, 2014.

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