ILOILO City, Oct. 11, 2016 – The Catholic faithful in this city celebrated on Oct. 6, the arrival of the sacred relics of a saint and a blessed who untiringly taught the Gospel message of the universal call to holiness.
In the presence of the newly-arrived relics of St. Josemaria Escriva and of his first successor as head of Opus Dei, Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, a thanksgiving Mass was held at the Sto. Niño Mission Chapel in downtown Iloilo on Thursday, coinciding with the 14th anniversary of the canonization of Escriva.
In the homily the main celebrant, Fr. Minch Fabio, highlighted the teaching of the founder of Opus Dei on ordinary work as a means of sanctification.
During the public veneration of the relics that followed the Mass, devotees presented their intentions on slips of paper for petitions or attested to favors they received through the intercession of the saints.
The first-class relics “ex sanguine” consist of the blood of St. Josemaria and the blood of Bl. Alvaro encased in their respective silver reliquaries.
A “first-class” relic is a part of the physical remains of a saint like bone, hair, blood, etc., while a “second-class” relic is a piece of clothing or an object used by the saint, and a “third-class” relic is an object which has been touched to a first-class relic.
According to the custodian of the holy relics, Mhark Dominic M. Macaranas of the Jaro Archdiocesan Campus Ministry, the relics of St. Josemaria and of Bl. Alvaro were sent to Iloilo by the Office for the Causes of the Saints of the Prelature of Opus Dei in Rome in response to the request of the Friends of St. Pope John Paul II, duly endorsed by Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, D.D.
Friends of St. John Paul II
The Friends of St. John Paul II is an association of the faithful launched in Iloilo after the relics of, at the time newly-canonized, Popes St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII were brought to the city for public veneration on May 2014.
Macaranas observed that the Church has “to do more to educate the faithful on the significance of the saints in our time and to introduce the vast array of holy men and women whose examples and virtuous lives are worthy to be followed.”
“In this task, the Friends of St. Pope John Paul II would like to help the Church in bringing the people closer to the saints through their sacred relics and in educating the faithful about the value of the saints’ relics according to the tradition of the Church,” he added. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas / CBCP News)