Blessed in Rome

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


VATICAN CITY — Catholic pilgrims around the world gathered in jubilation for the canonization rites of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II in a special Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican last Sunday.

The rites were to officially enroll them among the saints, and decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole Church. The event was also joyfully graced by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, and hundreds of cardinals, religious officials, and the laity.

Being part of this pilgrimage is a sacrifice, but it is also a sacrifice risk worth taking. Lining up for five hours just to reach the St. Peter’s Square with thousands of people all aiming to be accommodated inside the venue also takes lots of energy to sustain the walk, patience not to give up in the middle of the crowd where there is no way out, alertness to keep your valuables intact, and blessings to keep up close with Pope Francis.

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Medical attendants, street cleaners, police offices, and traffic controllers in their brightly colored uniforms were strategically stationed to render services before and after the event. Medical responses were quick and very organized. The streets filled with trash were completely cleaned and scrubbed after three hours. And since subways and major streets were closed, vehicle traffic inside the square was manageable.

Pilgrims who were not able to be accommodated by hotels and inns opted to set up tents and mats on the grounds of Lungotevere Castello and along Pio Street within the Vatican.

Some even stayed in the area three days before the canonization day. The most number of attendees were from Poland, France, and of course, Italy.

This first-ever celebration of its kind in the history of the Vatican also drew Filipino Catholics coming from Leyte, Manila, Bacolod, Iloilo and our OFWs who took a leave from their respective jobs just to be part of the event.

The faithful who took part in this liturgical celebration can obtain a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions such as freedom from all attachment to sin sacramental confessions, reception of Holy Communion and prayer intentions of the Holy Father. (Cristine Mansinares)

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Cristine Mansinares is the provincial tourism officer of Negros Occidental. She celebrated her birthday, which also happens to be on April 27, at St. Peter’s Square.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 29, 2014.

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