PLEASE continue to tell stories of the late Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle appealed to the 55,000 people who attended Vidal’s funeral mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral yesterday.
Tagle said that the Cebuanos’ genuine love for Vidal is “beyond human and cultural impulse to remember a dead loved one.”
“It affirms a basic insight of our Christian faith that death is not the end. Death is not the mutation, nor the annihilation of life. In death, life becomes complete,” he said.
Tagle, his predecessor Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo attended the funeral mass along with more than 40 bishops from different dioceses in the country.
They were joined by many people from all walks of life, some of whom recalled the late prelate’s kindness and generosity.
Mary Ann Adlawan, 54, a job-order employee from Toledo City, said Vidal inspired her to be closer to God.
Adlawan, a resident of Barangay Media Once in Toledo, cried when she saw Vidal’s coffin, which is now buried in the mausoleum of the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
“I cannot forget how nice he was. He was very fond of mingling with his flock, especially those who were in need of his advice,” Adlawan said in Cebuano.
Armenia Dumagit, 46, a resident of Barangay San Isidro, San Fernando, arrived early with her family.
Dumagit said that Vidal inspired her to raise her family on the right track.
She recalled that her late father had left her mother for another woman but decided to end his philandering ways after hearing one of Vidal’s homilies on the radio.
“He could not forget the cardinal’s sermon, which was about the importance of family,” she said in Cebuano.
In his homily, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo said he will never forget Vidal’s tendency to mediate quarrels.
Villarojo said that when Vidal gave the homily when he was elevated to bishop three years ago, the latter advised him never to quarrel with anyone.
“Learn to control emotions and always take care of your fellow clergy,” Villarojo quoted Vidal as saying in Cebuano.
Villarojo, who worked as the late prelate’s private secretary since 1998, said that he never saw Vidal curse or cuss even.
“Whenever he was angry, the only word that came out from his lips was ‘Pambihira (What a bother)’,” Villarojo said.
But what he will miss the most about his late boss was Vidal’s ability to reach out to people.
He said that even in this age of social media and long-distance relationships, Vidal still found importance in personal encounters with his flock.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Joel Doria said that Vidal’s funeral procession was generally peaceful.
“We secured everything and we detailed all our security personnel. We did not record any incidents except for the persons who experienced dizziness,” Doria said.
Doria also inspected the area around the cathedral, including the mausoleum where Vidal was laid to rest.
The crowd estimate was released by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
The CCPO deployed 800 police officers and force multipliers to guard the cathedral. Beat patrollers also conducted roving and checkpoints near the area.
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command were also present with K-9 units as well as members the Bureau of Fire Protection 7, Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation and Cebu City Traffic Operations Management.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak echoed Doria’s observation that the event was generally peaceful.
Tumulak, who is the deputy mayor for police matters, said the City’s medical team recorded 25 minor incidents that needed medical attention.
He said that the people who went to the cathedral yesterday didn’t have a hard time going home because buses were deployed to provide free rides to different parts of the city.
The traffic office opened the roads that were closed for the funeral procession around 1:30 p.m.