Hundreds of people waving Calungsod and national flags welcomed the statue upon its arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 4 p.m. from Rome.
The three-foot tall wooden image of Calungsod was being carried by Fr. Charles Jayme, the official custodian of the statue.
The official pilgrim image was flown to the Vatican for the canonization of Calungsod, the second Filipino saint, last October 21.
From the airport, the image was brought via a motorcade to the University of Santo Tomas in España, Manila for an overnight stay at the UST’s Santisimo Rosario Parish Church.
The statue will then visit some dioceses in Metro Manila before it will visit other provinces in Northern Luzon down to the Bicol region.
From Luzon, the image will also visit different dioceses in Visayas and Mindanao.
On Nov. 27, the statue will be brought back to Cebu City from Bohol, the last stop of the “Duaw Nasud,” by sea in time for the Triduum Masses leading to the National Thanksgiving on Nov. 30.
Around a million bishops, priests, religious, government officials and pilgrims from different parts of the country are expected to participate in the event.
Patron saint of OFWs
Former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See Henrietta de Villa expressed that Calungsod will become the patron saint of all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
As a missionary, she said that the young Visayan martyr should not only serve as role model for the youth, but also of all Filipino migrants.
“We should not be confined to just welcoming our new saint. We should also pattern ourselves in the way Calungsod lived his life,” said De Villa of the National Commission for Calungsod’s canonization.
She also said that they will appeal on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to officially declare Calungsod as the patron saint of OFWs.
“We will write the CBCP and ask them to declare Saint Pedro Calungsod as patron saint of OFWs,” said De Villa. (RL/CBCPNews)