Museum shows Vidal’s concern for heritage

CEBU Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal was an advocate for the protection of church heritage and, among his projects, converted the old rectory of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral into a museum.

Following his death last week, the Cathedral Museum is preparing to hold an exhibit in Cardinal Vidal’s honor.

Fr. Brian Brigoli, chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Culture and Heritage and current Cathedral Museum director, told SunStar Cebu that the Founder’s Gallery, located on the second floor of the museum, contains some of the cardinal’s memorabilia.

The items on display at the gallery could be traced back as far as the 1970s.

Visitors entering the gallery will be welcomed by a sign that says, “Viam Veritas Elegi,” which means, “I have chosen the way of truth.” This was the cardinal’s motto, inscribed on his coat of arms.

The gallery contains Vidal’s vestments as a young priest and bishop; some of his old sets of chalices and ciboriums; his old Episcopal rings and pectoral crosses, and other items.

The gallery also shows photos of Vidal’s life as a young man until he was ordained priest.

One of the highlights of the gallery are the three letters St. Teresa of Calcutta wrote to Cardinal Vidal after her visit to Cebu in 1987. In her letters, Mother Teresa was thankful to Cardinal Vidal for inviting her to Cebu and for donating a property to her order, the Missionaries of Charity, where the Gasa sa Gugma Home for the Dying Destitute in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City was built.

Another highlight of the gallery is the pectoral cross given to Vidal by St. Pope John Paul II upon his elevation as cardinal.

More than 50 items belonging to Vidal are on display at the gallery, Fr. Brigoli said.

Vidal chose the old Cathedral rectory to be converted into a museum because of its sentimental value to him. When Vidal was appointed as coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu in 1981, he made the old rectory of the Cathedral his home for more than year, Brigoli said.

Brigoli recalled that when parishioners held a party to welcome Cardinal Vidal to his new assignment, the latter accidentally sat on an old chair with thumbtacks on it.

That old chair is part of the exhibit dedicated to Vidal.

Brigoli said that when he was still Archbishop of Cebu, Vidal would often make impromptu visits at the Cathedral museum.

Noticing that some parts of the museum are slowly showing signs of decay, Vidal provided a yearly allocation to the Cathedral for its rehabilitation.

“He was very caring of the museum. He would always ask me what problems I’ve encountered in managing it. He was always ready to help us,” Brigoli said.

Brigoli said that following Vidal’s death, more people may soon visit the Cathedral Museum.

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