BACOLOD City, May 15, 2014 – On May 18, Bacolod Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, D.D. will bless a marker marking the spot where the newly-minted saint, St. John Paul II, prayed during his visit to the city in 1981.
The blessing will take place during the 10 a.m. Sunday mass to be celebrated by Bishop Navarre at the San Sebastian Cathedral. The date of the blessing also marks the birthday of St. John Paul II.
“When St. John Paul II visited the San Sebastian Cathedral he prayed in the sanctuary in front of the image of San Sebastian. The spot, sanctified by the presence and prayers of the new saint, will be memorialized by a marker that Bishop Navarra will bless,” said Fr. Deogracias Camon, Parochial Vicar of the San Sebastian Cathedral Parish.
San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod is one of the places that St. John Paul II visited during his Papal pastoral visit to the Philippines in 1981.
It is part of Catholic liturgical tradition that visiting prelates on official visits to churches pray in front of the altar of the patron saint of the church.
According to the priest the recent canonization of Pope John Paul II is doubly significant for Bacolod.
“John Paul II, not only blessed the diocese through his presence, but he also visited us during a period when the Negros provinces were undergoing social and political upheavals due to the widening inequality between the hacienda owners and the sugar field workers,” Camon explained.
In his address to landowners and sugarcane plantation workers, John Paul II helped the clergy and the faithful in Negros look at the situation in the light of the social teachings of the Church, the priest said.
According to Fr. Camon, the Pope’s visit in 1981 also brought to the awareness of the international community the plight of the Negros sugarcane workers. (Fr. Mickey Cardenas)