TWO days after his 102nd birth anniversary, the good deeds and miracles attributed to the late Archbishop Teofilo Camomot were recalled in a symposium in Cebu City yesterday.
More than 2,200 people attended the symposium held in the International Eucharistic Congress Pavilion.
The program started with a reading of the autobiography of the prelate by Rev. Fr. Mhar Balili, who works with a team that is pushing for the beatification of Camomot. Beatification by the Vatican is a requirement for a person’s canonization or recognition as a saint.
One of those who spoke about the late archbishop yesterday was Remedios Baricuatro, Camomot’s youngest sister.
Camomot was born on March 3, 1914 in Cogon, Carcar City, to Luis Camomot and Angela Bastida. He entered the Seminario Menor de San Carlos in 1932.
About nine years later, he was ordained as a priest on Dec. 19, 1941 at the age of 27 by Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, the first archbishop of Cebu.
As a young man
His first assignment as a priest was in San Fernando.
Baricuatro recalled that Camomot was always industrious, even when he was young.
“Iyang kinaiya kugihan kaayo sa balay. Siya’y moangkon sa tanan buluhaton (He worked so hard at home. He took care of all the household chores).” Baricuatro shared her stories with attendees while sitting on her wheelchair.
Whenever her brother came home from the seminary, she recalled, he always asked their mother if they had any rice so he could give it to the poor in the mountains of Carcar.
Camomot had wanted to study agriculture, his sister said.
But since the course was offered only in Mindanao at that time, Baricuatro said, their mother did not allow him to pursue that plan.
“Ayaw adto dong kay di baya ka kahibaw mangaway (Do not go to Mindanao. You do not even know how to defend yourself),” Baricuatro quoted her mother as saying.
The Archdiocese of Cebu, as part of the work on the beatification of Camomot, is gathering testimonies from different persons.
Ma. Dolores Lazo Plaza, 82, Camomot’s best friend, said she was just nine years old when Camomot was assigned to the St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Talisay City.
Plaza recalled that whenever there were fiestas in the barangays, the archbishop visited all the houses in the area.
During their meal, Plaza said, Camomot waited for the catechists, altar boys and church volunteers so that they could eat together.
Rev. Fr. Ramon Ofredo, a scholar of Camomot, described him as a humble and generous person who embodied God’s love.
Other persons who shared their experiences with Camomot were Tertuliano Herbas Seguerra, Natividad Ceballos, and Trinidad Bohol.
As to miracles, several people said they had witnessed Camomot’s gift of bilocation, or being present in two places at the same time, including retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
In a video presentation, Cardinal Vidal recalled there was a time when Camomot was with him in a meeting with other church officials.
The following days, a person informed Vidal that at the same time they were meeting, he saw Camomot giving the last sacrament to a dying person.
Carmen Bacatan, the Camomot family’s friend from Pardo in Cebu City, said the prelate gave money to a woman from Carcar who accidentally dropped her basket of tomatoes on the street.
Bacatan said that the woman later found out that on that day, Camomot was in Manila.
Zenaida Paninsuro, a legionary from Carcar City, witnessed that Camomot crossed a river to pray with a sick person in Carcar, but his shoes and vestments did not get wet.
“Akong gitan-aw ang sapa wa man gyu’y bato nga kapatungan niya para molabang (I looked at the river but there were no rocks he could step on to avoid getting wet),” Paninsuro said.
Other persons who shared stories of Camomot’s uniqueness were Engr. Emiliano Cabanig, Filomena Citon and Gleceria Ibones.
The symposium ended with a concelebrated mass led by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Palma said he hoped that Camomot’s virtues will be followed by everyone.
“In this year of mercy, this is the picture of God,” Archbishop Palma said.
Camomot died in a vehicular accident in Barrio Baho, San Fernando town on Sept. 27, 1988 at the age of 74.