CEBU City, Nov. 30, 2012—This queen city in the south is all agog with anticipation and bustling enthusiasm for the grand celebration scheduled this afternoon in thanksgiving for the gift of its homegrown saint— Pedro Calungsod.
Slated this afternoon at South Road Properties (SRP) at the heart of Cebu, is the National Thanksgiving Mass which will cap the more than a month’s festivities following Pedro Calungsod’s canonization in Rome on October 21.
The celebration will be led by Cebu Archbishop-emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma delivering the homily.
Also joining Cardinal Vidal and Archbishop Palma in the Thanksgiving Mass are Cardinal Angelo Amato, SDB, prefect of Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of the Saints; Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, Papal nuncio to the Philippines; Cebu-born Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, Papal nuncio to Korea; numerous bishops and clergy from the Philippines and abroad.
Fr. Eduardo Ventic, chairman of the Accommodation Committee for the National Thanksgiving said Vidal’s leading the celebration highlights his important role in the canonization of Pedro Calungsod.
It may be recalled that Vidal, then still the archbishop of Cebu, really worked hard to have the Visayan martyr raised to the altar.
Ventic said around 70 bishops from all over the Philippines are expected to attend the national thanksgiving Mass.
As chairman of the accommodation committee, Ventic oversees the lodgings of the prelates and guests who are coming to attend the occasion.
He said more than 65 prelates have already arrived since yesterday and he expects the rest, including Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle to arrive early this afternoon.
The momentous occasion has united all Cebuanos, according to Ventic, as Church and government officials including the private sector being involved to make the event successful and memorable.
Ventic said cabinet members and senators have been invited but he can only mention Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Vicente Sotto who are among those sure to attend.
Attending local officials in Cebu will be led by Governor Gwen Garcia and Cebu Mayor Michael Rama and city councilors.
Musing on the impact of today’s occasion, Ventic, who is also superintendent of Catholic schools in Cebu, said Calungsod’s sainthood really inspires “us all, the people.”
“People are inspired because we have a new saint. People are looking for someone as a model whom they can emulate,” he said.
Today’s festivities include a fluvial procession at 2 p.m. from Ouano Wharf to SRP led by a replica of the galleon that served as Calungsod’s vessel during his mission journey to Guam.
At least thousands are expected to join the foot procession scheduled at 1 p.m. towards the Templete at SRP where the National Thanksgiving Mass will be held. (CBCPNews)