MORE people are expected to flock to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral today to pay their last respects and witness the burial of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
At 9 a.m. on this official day of mourning, Cebuanos will bid farewell to the 86-year-old Marinduque native who had made Cebu his home for three decades.
Officials of the weather bureau advised those who will be attending the funeral mass to bring umbrellas and other gear to protect them from the rain.
Msgr. Joseph Tan, Cebu Archdiocesan spokesperson, told reporters that as of midnight Wednesday, they already stopped the viewing to prepare for the burial rites.
They promised to reopen the Cathedral at 7 a.m. today to usher in those who will be attending the mass.
Fr. Mhar Vincent Balili said that the funeral mass for Cardinal Vidal will be patterned after the funeral masses of popes.
Balili, who is in charge of the liturgical aspect of Vidal’s burial, said that all throughout the mass, the coffin will remain on the floor. It will not be be placed on a catafalque or raised platform.
Placing Vidal’s coffin on the floor, he said, symbolizes the late archbishop’s humility in the face of death.
As the entrance song starts, the funeral entourage will march toward the altar.
Following the entry of the clergy, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma and Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo will enter and place two white silk cloths on Cardinal Vidal’s face and hands.
The gesture, which is often applied in papal burials, symbolizes the sacrament of baptism and will serve as the priest’s “spiritual armor in his journey to God.”
Four monsignors, namely, Guillermo Gorre, Arthur Navales, Alfredo Romanillos and Vicente Tupas, will then approach the coffin and cover it with a pall or a long white cloth.
The pall symbolizes Christian dignity.
Cardinal Vidal’s surviving younger brother, Juanito, and Fr. Benedict Gacho have been tasked to place a cross and the book of Gospels on top of the coffin, respectively.
Once the prayer after the communion is recited, Msgr. Gabriel Viola, secretary to Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, will deliver the message of Pope Francis.
The mass will last for more than an hour.
After the mass, 10 priests will bring Cardinal Vidal’s coffin to the carroza waiting outside the Cathedral for the funeral procession.
As the coffin is brought outside the Cathedral, members of the San Carlos Seminary Choir led by Msgr. Rodolfo “Rudy” Villanueva will sing the “Salve Regina.”
The pallbearers are Monsignors Rey Penagunda, Danilo Sanico, Achilles Dakay, Joseph Tan, Agustin Ancajas, Roberto Alesna, Adelito Abella and Ildebrando Leyson; and Fathers Joseph de Aquino and Expedito Torrevillas.
They were chosen from among Cardinal Vidal’s closest staff members.
The carroza, which will carry the coffin, was made during the time of Cebu Archbishop Juan Gorordo, the first Cebuano bishop, said Fr. Erik Orio, who is in charge of the funeral procession.
Ten members of the Knights of Columbus will accompany the carroza during the procession.
Like Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Gorordo is interred in the Cathedral mausoleum.
Litany of the Saints
Once the funeral procession begins, members of the clergy will then start praying the Litany of the Saints until Cardinal Vidal’s coffin arrives at the Cathedral mausoleum.
As Cardinal Vidal’s coffin is paraded, the Cathedral will start ringing the bells. It will last until the coffin arrives at the mausoleum.
At the mausoleum, church officials lead by Archbishop Palma will pray the rites of internment, which will end the funeral mass for the cardinal.
Before he is interred, parchment sheets containing Cardinal Vidal’s life story and accomplishments will be read and then placed in a capsule. The capsule will be sealed along with the coffin.
Balili said that they decided to place a capsule in the coffin to help identify the remains.
The mass will end with the singing of Vidal’s favorite song “Gaano Ko Ikaw Kamahal” by the late Levi Celerio, National Artist for Music.
Meanwhile, a weather official advised people who plan to witness the burial rites today to bring umbrellas and other protective gear.
Engr. Al Quiblat, Visayas weather chief of Pagasa, told SunStar Cebu there is a moderate to high chance that rain could occur with the possible arrival of typhoon Quendan within the Philippine Area of Responsibility today.
Aside from Quendan, an intertropical convergence zone, which is looming over Palawan and the rest of Mindanao, may also cause more rain in Cebu.
Localized thunderstorms are also expected to occur in some parts of Cebu, said Quiblat.
The rainy weather in Cebu will remain until the weekend, he said.