CEBU City, Nov. 29, 2012—The people’s expression of faith and the fervor of their devotion to the new Filipino saint was truly astounding, a Church official said.
The fervent devotion shown by the faithful during the “Duaw Nasud” was truly a religious experience, said Fr. Marvin Mejia, assistant secretary general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
As the pilgrim statue of St. Pedro Calungsod visited dioceses across the country, people welcomed the image with much fervor and devotion, Mejia said.
He said people were really happy that St. Pedro Calungsod came to visit their place.
“There’s joy in their faces, the expression of faith, sense of veneration to Pedro Calungsod, really expressed through gestures, through wiping of handkerchiefs, waving of flags, the desire to touch the statue,” he said.
Mejia accompanied the pilgrim image during the Duaw Nasud to the Visayas and Mindanao.
The priest expressed amazement on the people’s expression of devotion towards the young Filipino saint.
“People are lining along the route, waving flags or branches as a sign of welcome, opening their arms in welcome; saying prayers while the motorcade was passing along – whatever time it was whether it’s night, people were there with torches, people are assembled in the cathedral, in hundreds or in some instances, thousands,” he said.
The Duaw Nasud first visited 18 dioceses in the Capital Region, Southern and Northern Luzon and Bicol provinces before it proceeded to visit another 18 dioceses in Visayas and Mindanao.
Mejia noted a greater number of young people among those who welcomed the statue during the Duaw Nasud.
When asked about the effect of the teen saint on young people, the priest said, “Pedro could be a patron to the young, and I think that it is natural now that the young people especially catholic youth may be embracing him as one of his own.”
But he emphasized the need for a continuing catechesis and formation among the faithful, saying that veneration and devotion are good but they are not enough.
“This popular expression of faith should be deepened through catechesis and formation to lead the faithful to worship Christ,” he said, adding that he sees it as a “challenge to the Church especially in this year faith.”
Mejia happily noted that their objective of having introduced Pedro Calungsod through the Duaw Nasud has paid off.
“I think Pedro Calungsod is now a household name, even the young kids, even in Mindanao. I think he is now known, thanks also to the media, but the Duaw Nasud was really on the ground,” he said.
The “Duaw” was first launched in the archdiocese of Cebu in 2000 after the beatification of Calungsod to introduce the Blessed to the Cebuanos.
Mejia proposed the same idea on a nationwide scale to generate awareness and drum up devotion to the new Filipino saint.
The priest said they also printed hundred thousands of prayer cards to establish the cult to the saint.
Mejia also stated that some of the places visited during the Duaw Nasud pointed to some historical elements that can be associated with Pedro Calungsod.
He cited the visits to Pampanga, Cavite, and other places in the Visayas that claimed links with Calungsod.
“For example there was a companion from Pampanga so we went to Pampanga, in Intramuros where Diego San Vitores and his companions were jailed, and the wharf in Cavite, so we went to Cavite, then some places in the Visayas in Molo where Pedro Calungsod was welcomed home as one of their own.”
St.Pedro’s image visited key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao from October 26 until November 26.
From its last stop in Talibon, the image arrived in Cebu and proceeded by motorcade to St. Pedro Calungsod Shrine. Shortly after, it was brought by motorcade to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the first Triduum Mass.
On November 28, the image was brought by motorcade to the Metropolitan Cathedral for the second day of the Triduum Masses.
St. Pedro’s image on Thursday was brought by motorcade from the Cathedral to the newly built Chapel of St. Pedro Calungsod at the South Road Properties.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma consecrated the newly-built chapel during a Mass at 3 p.m. today with Cebu Archbishop-emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and other bishops and clergy concelebrating. (CBCPNews)