Familiar faces add to festivity-A A +A
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
THE canonization of San Pedro Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, opened some rare opportunities for Cebuanos, like the chance to serve and sing during masses at the Vatican.
Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal’s appearance during the televised broadcast of the canonization rites in Rome last Sunday received the loudest applause from local audiences.
The prelate, who joined his confreres in the College of Cardinals, served as a concelebrant and recited the anamnesis (Greek term for remembrance), the prayer before the communion.
The reading in Cebuano of one of the petitions, by teacher and church volunteer Mary Rose Villacastin-Maghuyop, also gave audiences something to cheer about.
Msgr. Ildebrando Leyson, the postulator for the cause of Calungsod, was also one of the celebrants during the canonization mass.
He also presided over the thanksgiving mass yesterday, with the theme “Our Vocation to Sanctity,” which was held in St. Peter’s Basilica. The preacher for the mass was the Archbishop of Agaña, Guam Antony Apuron, D.D.
The multi-awarded Mandaue Children and Youth Chorus performed during the mass.
In the town of Ginatilan, which claims Calungsod as its own, religious events in connection with the canonization were cordial and solemn.
And in Cebu City, similar activities last Sunday were generally peaceful, said Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, the city’s police chief.
Also yesterday, a church official assured there is no need to worry about the health of Cardinal Vidal.
According to an ABS-CBN report yesterday afternoon, the retired archbishop of Cebu suffered from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar after leading the mass.
The report added that Cardinal Vidal had not been able to take his meals before the mass that was set at 8 a.m. in Rome and 1 p.m. Manila time.
The 81-year-old prelate was given some crackers and candy to raise his blood sugar level quickly.
“After the mass, we took our late breakfast at the Philippine Embassy,” said Fr. Charles Jayme, the official custodian of the pilgrim image of San Pedro Calungsod.
At the breakfast, Cardinal Vidal was joined by Archbishop Emeritus of Manila Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and former Sen. Francisco Tatad, among others.
It was Cardinal Vidal who had opened the investigation into the life of the teenaged saint, almost two decades ago.
Fr. Jayme thinks it was a blessing that he was one of hundreds of priests who gave communion to the thousands gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
He posted his certificate on his Facebook account.
“I have an American priest-friend. When we entered the sanctuary (altar area), our jaws dropped, and he said, ‘Wow!’” Jayme told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We saw the throng of people, pwerteng bagaa sa tawo didto (there was a huge crowd),” he added.
The priests who distributed communion were the ones wearing white vestments over black cassocks and who were lined up on the aisle as they prepared to distribute communion wafers to the pilgrims from different countries.
Villacastin-Maghuyop, Our Lady of Joy Learning Center school director, was only two seats behind Fr. Jayme. She caught the Bisaya crowd’s attention when she read one of the petitions, during the canonization mass, in Cebuano.
Jayme said they just nodded at each other, adding that the personnel in the area were very strict as they try to keep the ceremony solemn.
“Knowing Mary Rose, I knew it would be perfect,” he added.
Maghuyop’s sister, Frankie Villacastin-Despi, told Sun.Star Cebu the opportunity to read at a mass in St. Peter’s Square was a “great blessing from God and Saint Pedro.”
“After all her contributions, her emceeing experiences, her devotion as a Roman Catholic and the way she is so kind and patient, to how she rears her family and teaches living values through her school, she and also the choir deserve this opportunity,” said Despi, Advet Inc. office administrator.
Despi, who is also a Commission on the Cultural Heritage of the Church member, said Mary Rose is a volunteer emcee for the Cathedral museum, among others.
Fr. Jayme also shared that there are Cebuanos who assisted Pope Benedict XVI during the canonization mass. These are the incense bearer and the one who carried the sacramentary or mass guide.
Jayme said they were Ateneo seminarians but their family roots are in Cebu.
Celebrations for the sainthood of Calungsod took place not just in Rome, but in many churches in the country.
About 20,000 devotees and pilgrims joined the fluvial procession and mass held last Sunday in Ginatilan town, some 135 kilometers from Cebu City, said Police Chief Christopher Castro.
“There were no reported crime incidents. Gitabangan mi niya (He helped us),” he said.
“Nobody lost their belongings. No one also fought. Everyone was serious in their devotion,” the official added.
About 40 police personnel were fielded to ensure peace and order and control the crowd. A bomb-sniffing dog was also deployed to detect explosives.
Police stayed on their toes since dawn, preparing for the event. After Calungsod was declared a new saint, the people erupted in cheers inside the centuries-old San Gregorio Magno church while watching the live telecast.
In Cebu City, Senior Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, the police chief, said that several shooting and stabbing incidents last Sunday had nothing to do with the different activities for the canonization.
“There were no untoward incidents that happened and it was peaceful,” said Buenafe. He said they are now preparing for the security of the national thanksgiving mass this Nov. 30.
He said they are expecting the crowd to reach almost a million people.
The police chief asked for the cooperation of the public; different government agencies will also serve as the operatives’ counterparts.
Buenafe said the police in the city will be on red alert to secure the activity.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 23, 2012.