MANILA, Oct. 12, 2012— Thousands of Filipinos will be in Rome to witness the canonization of the Philippines’ soon-to-be second saint on October 21.
Around 5,000 pilgrims will be coming from the Philippines alone and thousands more Filipinos living in the US and other countries are expected to attend the historic event.
Fr. Marvin Mejia, assistant secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the figures could grow if the number of Filipinos residing in Italy will be included.
There are about 100,000 documented Filipinos living in Italy, making them among the largest foreign population groups there.
“This is really going to be a moment of great pride for us Filipinos,” Mejia said.
Around 30 Filipino cardinals and bishops are also attending the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod.
They will be led by Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, and Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president.
The CBCP official said some top government officials are also attending the canonization of the Visayan martyr including Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
“There could be other government officials but this is what I got so far,” Mejia said.
Henrietta de Villa, who is part of a national commission preparing for Calungsod’s canonization, said that there will be three statues of Calungsod that will be brought to Rome.
Aside from the official pilgrim image from Cebu, one statue will be given to Pope Benedict XVI while another one will be placed at the Pontificio Collegio Filipino, the “home” of Filipino diocesan priests studying at pontifical universities in Rome.
“The other one will be blessed by the Holy Father and will be brought back again to the Philippines because that is the pilgrim image,” De Villa said.
She said the image will be flown back to Manila on October 25 for the “Duaw Nasud” to major cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao until November 27.
The image is expected to be in Cebu City again before the Nov. 30 thanksgiving Mass for Pedro Calungsod’s sainthood. [RL/CBCPNews]