DIPOLOG City, Feb. 22, 2016 – A recent Mass in Dipolog’s Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral kicked off the diocesan process for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Francesco Palliola, SJ, an Italian Jesuit missionary who served in Mindanao.
Bishop Severo Caermare announced the opening of the Cause of Fr. Palliola on Jan. 9 with Fr. Patrick Dalangin, parish priest of the Municipality of Ponot (Jose Dalman), Zamboanga del Norte appointed as postulator. If declared a saint, Palliola, as an adopted son, will be the Philippines’ third saint, after St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila and St. Pedro Calungsod of Cebu – and the first from Mindanao.
The priest was martyred at Ponot, now Jose S. Dalman town, on Jan. 29, 1648 by Tampilo, a converted native leader who had left the faith, and whom Palliola was trying to bring back to the Church. He died at 35.
Caermare said: “Padre Palliola may have been Neapolitan, an Italian by birth; but his love for God, his great passion for mission and caring for the people of the Zamboanga Peninsula, particularly the Subanon lumad, made him truly Mindanaoan.”
Born into a noble family, in the town of Nola in Naples, Italy on May 10, 1612, Palliola was part of a 40-man Jesuit expedition to the Philippines.
After traveling for two years, he finally landed in Iligan on Jan. 2, 1644, beginning a mission in Mindanao that would take him to Dipolog, Dapitan, and the rest of the Zamboanga Peninsula, spreading the Catholic faith to the locals, including the lumads.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas archives houses a painting showing Palliola with a dagger piercing his throat. “Together with traditions passed on since his death, and written records of individuals who have been healed after praying to him, the painting is a reminder of Fr. Palliola’s lasting impact on the people of the Peninsula. His grave site, marked by a modest memorial, continues to be regularly visited by those who seek his intercession,” reads a press release by the Diocese of Dipolog.
The investigative process “to ascertain the authenticity of his life, the renown of his sanctity, and the miracles attributed to him” will be undertaken not just the Diocese of Dipolog, but also the Jesuits and the Augustinian Recollects, who had worked in the area. (CBCP News)