Calungsod pilgrims can stay in ‘tent city’-A A +A
Friday, September 7, 2012
HOTELS, pension houses, retreat centers and a “tent city” are being tapped to accommodate close to one million pilgrims expected in Cebu City in November this year.
At least 1,000 Cebu pilgrims leaving for Rome would be chaperoned by diocesan priests who will focus on preaching on the spiritual aspect of the journey and underscore that the trip is not a mere sightseeing and shopping tour.
Fr. Jake Reyes, committee on local pilgrims chairperson, said his group is coordinating with the owners of these establishments and negotiating for discounts for local guests who want to attend the National Thanksgiving Mass that would be held a month after the canonization of the country’s second saint.
Blessed Pedro Calungsod, a teenage Visayan catechist, would be canonized in Rome together with six other blessed persons by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21.
Calungsod was killed by natives of Guam on April 2, 1672 and was beatified by Blessed Pope John Paul II in March 2000.
Reyes said the Cebu City Government will also provide a tent city for pilgrims who cannot afford to stay in hotels and pension houses.
“It would be like what we have during the Santo Niño feast day celebration,” said Reyes, adding the site of the “tent city” still has to be identified.
Reyes also said his group is coordinating with the bishops of all dioceses in the country to help facilitate their needs.
As for the pilgrims who will be traveling to Rome to personally witness the canonization of Calungsod, Msgr. Achilles Dakay said travel agencies have enlisted and sought the help of church officials to expedite the issuance of visas.
“This is a pilgrimage, not tourism (activity),” he said.
Dakay, committee on pilgrims chairperson, said the application time for visas has ended and the Italian Embassy is in the process of distributing visas.
“Most of the applicants are mature, I’m not afraid naay mag-TNT (tago-ng-tago, or slang for illegal migrants) didto,” he said.
He announced that Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has been issued a visa, but he is not sure if Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia already received a reply to her application.
“There are other officials who will be going to Rome,” said Dakay.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 07, 2012.