QUEZON City, April 25, 2014—Just days before Blessed John XXIII is finally “raised to the altar”, a church group will be running a nationwide tour of his sacred relics, starting April 25 until May 31 in a bid to promote devotion to him whom Catholics of his time loved to call “the Good Pope”.
“While it is common knowledge that we Filipinos have a bias towards Pope John Paul II who will also be canonized with him, as Catholics it is just as well that we learn as much as we can about the life and legacy of John XXIII,” said event coordinator Br. Dave Dela Cruz who was at the Radio Veritas Chapel on West Avenue for the first leg of the tour.
Relics from Vatican II
The tour features a piece of the funeral cassock, which the Pope was wearing when he was buried in 1963. But it is doubly special because the cloth is drenched in the pontiff’s bodily fluids, making it a first-class relic.
The faithful can also see one of the commemorative medals, which John XXIII gave as souvenir to the participants of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).
Dela Cruz, who also organized the “Totus Tuus Tour” of which this exhibit also forms part, mentioned that John XXIII’s relics arrived in the country from Rome Wednesday night, just in time for the double canonization on April 27, Divine Mercy Sunday, which most Filipinos will be joining “in spirit” from the privacy of their homes or with fellow Catholics in events prepared by their dioceses.
“One aim of this relic viewing is to enable Filipino Catholics to feel the holy presence of John XXIII. Let’s face it: we can’t afford to personally go to the Vatican for the canonization, that’s why through the Totus Tuus Tour we more or less brought the pope to be canonized to our countrymen,” he said.
“The Good Pope”
The Good Pope is credited, among other things, with “opening up the Church to the modern world”, a legacy which today’s Catholics can thank him for.
John XXIII also allowed for greater participation of the laity in the affairs of Church.
Dela Cruz pointed out that had it not been for John XXIII and the reforms brought about by Vatican II, the Church would not have become what it is now.
“He is a giant in his own right,” he added.
In order to acquaint Filipino Catholics better with John XXIII, a feature film based on his life is shown in the tour venue.
The Totus Tuus Tour schedule is as follows:
- May 9 to May 12 – St. Joseph Parish in Upper Bicutan, Taguig City
- May 13 to May 16 – Holy Cross Parish in Matingain, Lemery, Batangas
- May 17 to May 18 – Holy Family Parish in Kamias, Quezon City
- May 23 to May 25 – Santuario de San José in Greenhills, Mandaluyong City
- May 26 to May 30 – Santa María de la Cabeza Mission Station in Barangay Mangoso, Sigma, Capiz
- May 31 to June 1 – St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Concepcion Dos, Marikina City
(Raymond A. Sebastián)