Devotees throng to venerate Saint Pedro Calungsod image

MANILA— Braving the heat, thousands of Filipinos stood in line Wednesday to see and kiss the image of the second Filipino saint at the country’s biggest Catholic church.

Saint Pedro Calungsod’s image arrived in the Philippines from Rome last Oct. 25 and immediately made  rounds to different areas in Metro Manila and Northern Luzon as part of a thanksgiving pilgrimage around the country.

The statue made its second to the last stop at the Manila Cathedral before proceeding to Southern Luzon dioceses down to Visayas and Mindanao starting Thursday.

After the Mass led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, swarms of worshippers pressed forward to touch, kiss or wipe their handkerchiefs on the image in the hopes its powers will touch their lives.

In his homily, Tagle said that to better appreciate the blessing of having a second Filipino saint, the people should study the life of the 17-year-old Visayan martyr.

Cardinal-designate Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle offers incense to the official image of Saint Pedro Calungsod during a Mass attended by around 2,000 faithful to welcome the statue of the second Filipino saint at Plaza Roma, located in front of the Manila Cathedral, Nov. 7, 2012. (RL/CBCPNews)

“After this very big blessing, let us ponder on what it means to be martyr. Read about the life of Saint Pedro Calungsod and listen to the many catecheses about him,” he said.

“These are available in online publications, instead of uploading or downloading about other topics, do a search on Saint Pedro Calungsod,” said Tagle.

Among those present in the noontime Mass were Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim; presidential sister Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee; Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes and three commissioners Lucenito Tagle, Rene Sarmiento and Christian Robert Lim; former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., and former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortez, Novaliches Emeritus Bishop Teodoro Bacani and several other priests concelebrated the Mass with Cardinal-designate Archbishop Tagle.

From the Manila Cathedral, the image was brought to the San Roque Cathedral in the Diocese of Caloocan. It is expected to be at the Diocese of Imus by tomorrow.

The image is also set to visit Lipa, Lucena, Daet, and Legazpi, in Southern Luzon and Catarman, Calbayog, Palo and Maasin, in Visayas.

It will then proceed to Surigao, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Pagadian, Ozamiz, Dipolog, Dumaguete, Kabankalan, Bacolod, Jaro, San Carlos, Tagbilaran, and Talibon, all in Mindanao.

On Nov. 27, the image will be brought back to Cebu City from Bohol, the last stop of the “Duaw Nasud” or Nation Visit, in preparation for the national thanksgiving celebration on Nov. 30. (RL/CBCPNews)